The Westbrook Planning Board was unanimous in its criticism of a proposed 96-unit condominium project on Austin Street during its first look at the plan Tuesday.

The sketch plan for the project, at 388 Austin St., depicts eight, large two-story buildings that would each house 12 condo units. According to Mike Tadema-Wielandt, the engineer working for developer Tim Ly, the units would be two bedrooms.

The meeting was heavily attended by neighboring residents, who describe the street as rural. More than a dozen spoke during the workshop, stating that the project does not fit the neighborhood – a point that many board members agreed with.

Multiple board members said the building layout appeared simply “plunked” along a large parking lot.

“You need to look at the neighborhood,” board member Rebecca Dillon told the developers.

Member Robin Tannenbaum said the building design resembled “Army barracks,” and “massive boxes on a runway.”

Dennis Isherwood suggested that the applicant consider fewer units, and perhaps one floor. He said the plan needed a “total redesign.”

The property is bisected by a Central Maine Power easement, and, according to the sketch plan, the buildings would be located to the south of the power lines. A portion to the north would remain open space.

“We intend to revise the plan based on what we’ve heard,” Tadema-Wielandt said.

In 2013, resident pushback in the area resulted in changes to a proposed development at the former site of Prides Corner Elementary School, where a 98-unit apartment project was redesigned into 46 condominium units.

Ly, who owns MaineLy Property Management, said he’d like the condos to be in an affordable range of about $180,000-$220,000.

“We’d love to get a mix of people,” he said, referring to his target market. “Hopefully that’s what a mix of people can afford.”

Austin Street is also a dead-end street, and many people, including Ward 5 City Councilor Mike Sanphy, believe the condition of the street is inadequate for the needs associated with 96 units.

“It will disrupt the whole neighborhood,” Sanphy said Wednesday, adding that he’s concerned for emergency vehicle response. “I strongly feel that’s not an adequate place for that.”

Shawn Adams, who works for the city as a mechanic on emergency vehicles, said he’s driven plow trucks on the street, which have a tough time even making it up the street during the winter months.

Westbrook School Department transportation coordinator Joan Harmon said the proposed location for the entrance to the condo complex is currently a bus turnaround location. She said due to the narrow road and a dead end, there’s no other way to turn around.

Another resident, who owns 386 Austin St., said that he learned while developing an adjacent lot that water and sewer were already inadequate.


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