WESTBROOK – Westbrook could gain another 40 units of independent-living, elderly housing at Millbrook Estates if the city’s contract zone for the senior housing facility on East Bridge Street is revised.

The project would add a fourth wing to Millbrook Estates. Completed in the early 1990s, Millbrook Estates has 100 units of elderly housing.

The original contract zone allowed for the construction of a fourth wing to house a 50-unit congregate care facility. The request from Westbrook Housing, which developed the facility, also asks that the new wing be expanded to four stories, instead of the three originally allowed.

However, according to a Westbrook Planning Board memo, “the overall height of the building should not be perceived as taller from the road as the new wing would utilize more of a flat roof than the existing pitched roof.”

The Westbrook City Council gave a first reading to the contract zone amendment at its May 12 meeting.

Gary Vogel, the attorney for Westbrook Housing, said during the meeting that while the original plan was for Millbrook to eventually include congregate care housing, which provides a higher level of care, Westbrook Housing was able to develop its Larrabee Village project during the mid ’90s, which has 150 units of congregate housing.

“However, there continues to be an extreme shortage of affordable elderly housing,” he said. “We looked at the contract zone and realized we needed to make a few adjustments.”

According to Chris LaRoche, director of Westbrook Housing, there is a waiting list of more than 400 seniors looking for affordable housing in Westbrook. He said while there is a need for this type of housing in the city, funding for projects is difficult with other area competition.

“It’s such a limited pool of money that we’re all competing for,” he said Friday during the opening of Avesta Housing’s new Hyacinth Place project on Walker Street.

A final reading on the contract zone will most likely be on the June 2 council agenda, and if approved, the next step would be site plan approval.

– Andrew Rice

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