A Sanford builder hopes to replace a former residential care facility on Hanson’s Ridge with a 16-unit apartment building styled to look like a farmhouse, similar to this artist’s conception. Area neighbors say it won’t fit in with the rural nature of the neighborhood. Sanford Planning Board members will visit the site Sept. 21.

A Sanford builder hopes to replace a former residential care facility on Hanson’s Ridge with a 16-unit apartment building styled to look like a farmhouse, similar to this artist’s conception. Area neighbors say it won’t fit in with the rural nature of the neighborhood. Sanford Planning Board members will visit the site Sept. 21.

SANFORD — Most people who spoke at a public hearing Wednesday on whether a proposed 16- unit apartment building in the rural residential zone is consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan said it isn’t.

And while members of the Planning Board asked questions of developers Sam and Joe Sevigny of 7E Properties and exchanged conversation with those commenting, they chose to walk the property and see it for themselves rather than take an immediate vote.

The building would be located on the foundation of the former Mountain View Residential Care Facility, once known as the Town Farm, on Hanson’s Ridge, an area where there is significant concentration of conserved land. The city sold the six-acre lot to 7E Properties following a bid process in 2012.

Joe Sevigny, in response to a question at the Planning Board public hearing, said some abutters had attended an auction, but did not submit a bid for the property.

The project, called the Ridge, would see the current one-story, 26-bed brick structure demolished and a new building styled as a multi-generational farmhouse with 16 high-end units constructed in its place.

But neighbors said it doesn’t fit in with the rural nature of the area and is inconsistent with the city’s comprehensive plan.

Michele DesAutels of Ferment Farm said she believes approval of the project would set a precedent and that the comprehensive plan states Springvale should retain its rural nature and that urban sprawl should be discouraged.

“This property is urban sprawl,” she said.

Joe Sevigny said when he and his brother bought the property, the City Council was excited about it being turned into living space. He said they originally intended to renovate the structure, but as time passed, decided to demolish it instead.

Resident Anne Marie Mastraccio, who was a city councilor at the time, said she recalled Joe and Sam Sevigny talking about creating small, one-bedroom living spaces for veterans, not a new 16-unit apartment complex. She said she supported other projects the company has completed, like transforming former schools into living units, but not this one.

“I don’t think it fits in with the comprehensive plan,” she said.

At the beginning of the meeting, Planning Board Chairman Jack McAdam asked Joe and Sam Sevigny and Planning Board members if they had any issue with him, an abutter to the property, conducting the meeting; no one voiced concern.

Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council Director James Nimon spoke up in favor of the proposal. He said high-quality housing is good for the economy and growth in the community.

If the project is determined to be consistent with the comprehensive plan, 7E Properties would seek a contract zone from the City Council, because the property is zoned rural residential.

The six-acre Mountain View Acres parcel is immediately surrounded by 47 acres of conserved land and a wider area of conservation land totaling 284 acres, much of it associated with Hanson Farm, the home of McDougal Orchards.

But the Mountain View Land is mostly forested ledge and not suitable for farming, 7E Properties pointed out.

The project would generate about $12,000 in property tax.

Evan McDougal, a shareholder in Hanson Farm who now lives in New Hampshire, said he likes 7E Properties’ other buildings in the community.

“I love what you’ve done for the city of Sanford but this is not the place to put it,” said McDougal of the proposed apartment complex.

Under the current zoning, the property could have a maximum of three house lots.

“This isn’t personal,” said Ellen McAdam of McDougal Orchards. “This is the wrong place for multifamily (dwellings),” pointing out there are no sidewalks, and people can’t walk to services.

“I don’t want urban sprawl, but it’s not really in the farmland, it’s on the edge of it,” said Planning Board member Luke Lanigan.

Planning Director Jim Gulnac read letters from Jean Noon and Gordon Johnston. Both oppose the plan.

The Planning Board will visit the site at 5 p.m. Sept. 21.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]


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