A recently formed citizens group met with Westbrook city officials last week, reiterating its concerns about the proposed 300-unit expansion of the Blue Spruce Farm subdivision.

According to an updated document from the group, which includes more than 40 Westbrook residents, city officials expressed a commitment to a few of the group’s chief concerns, including a public hearing regarding the project and a “broad public notification” for input on the state’s traffic study of the area.

The group, calling itself “A Gathering of Concerned Citizens,” was organized by Flynn Ross, a resident of Middle Street and professor at the University of Southern Maine. Ross circulated her goals to multiple neighboring residents following a Planning Board workshop June 7, where Risbara Bros. Construction officials presented expansion plans.

Phase 2 of Blue Spruce Farm proposes more than 300 units of mostly market-rate apartments, and some condominiums and single-family homes. Following the presentation, a number of residents spoke out against the project, stating that the added development would be too much for the neighborhood.

The developer says that the proposal meets the necessary land ordinance and zoning rules, and that the local and state permitting processes will address some of the group’s concerns, including traffic, infrastructure and the impact on schools.

The Phase 2 project will be located on 42 acres of mostly wooded land between the existing construction of Phase 1, off Spring Street and Prospect Street.

During the last meeting, the Planning Board scheduled a site walk on the Phase 2 property for Saturday, July 16, at 9 a.m. In an email that was sent to all city officials, Ross said the group is “glad to confirm your commitment to a public hearing on the Blue Spruce Phase II project at some time following the site walk.”

City Administrator Jerre Bryant said Wednesday that roughly a dozen people took part in the meeting, which lasted about two hours.

“The primary concern is ‘too much, too fast’ for the multi-family component,” he said, referring to the group’s comments. He said there were also questions about the overall process and availibility of public feedback.

“It was a positive meeting,” he said. “Everybody there had either done their research or had some thoughtful considerations.”

The property is zoned Residential Growth Area 1, which is designed to allow for a high level of density. According to an updated document sent out by the group, there has also been discussion over the use of special exceptions in the zone, which are required for multi-family dwellings.

The group argues that the 12-unit apartment buildings do not meet the land use ordinance, but special exceptions are permitted uses in the zone and are designed to allow the board more wiggle room in deciding where to allow such a use.

“We look forward to further collaborations and communications about planning for the interests of all of Westbrook’s citizens and taxpayers at this time of accelerated housing development with a strong economy and Westbrook becoming a highly desirable community,” the group said in its email.

Phase 1 of Blue Spruce Farm, off Spring Street, is still under construction. The former Clarke Farm house was renovated into apartments, and behind it lies four 12-unit apartment buildings and a number of single-family homes. Rocco Risbara, the developer, said his company recently put down 50,000 square feet of sod.

More 12-unit apartment buildings are still being constructed on Phase 1 of Blue Spruce Farm. The proposed Phase 2 would be built on the wooded land behind the existing development.


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