The developer of the controversial Blue Spruce Farm subdivision in Westbrook has withdrawn plans for a proposed 307-unit Phase 2 of the project after a landowner has refused to close on a portion of the property.

The dilemma forces Risbara Bros. Construction to significantly downsize its project – taking it to 108 units and eliminating a road connecting the existing development to Prospect Street.

Rocco Risbara said Friday that his company is filing suit against Westbrook Land Co., LLC, for breach of contract. Westbrook Land Co. owns a 28-acre parcel adjacent to Westbrook Pointe and the Stroudwater River.

That parcel, and a 13-acre parcel owned by resident Daniel Chick, made up the land for Phase 2 of the subdivision, which has been at the center of public debate in Westbrook over its scale and potential impact on infrastructure.

Risbara said his company had a signed contract with a specific price for the property. According to its 2015 filing report, Westbrook Land Co. is based in Auburn, Mass., and operated by the Spear real estate group of Florida.

In a letter to Westbrook City Planner Jennie Franceschi sent Friday, Risbara said, “We will not be moving forward with the project as it has been presented.”

He went on to say, “Due to the fact that the sellers of the Westbrook Land Co. have breached the contract by refusing to close, we have been forced to file a lawsuit to compel their performance.”

“Obviously, we’re very disappointed, we feel terrible about it,” Risbara told the American Journal Friday.

Now, Risbara said, the Phase 2 project will most likely be 108 units of market-rate apartments. He said the plan will still use the 12-unit building type. The new plan will also eliminate the park, the condo units and the proposed single-family homes.

Risbara said the litagation is planned to take up to 18 months, after which time the developers may consider additional development on the property. However, Risbara said, he doesn’t foresee the plan remaining similar.

In his letter to the city, Risbara said he hoped the new plan would alleviate some concerns from residents.

“This eliminates the discussion regarding cut through traffic,” he said. “The new proposal would be for all multi-family buildings which would virtually eliminate any impacts on the school system by our project.”

He also said buffers between buildings and existing properties will be increased.

Risbara said he knew about the potential issue with the property during Monday’s joint meeting with city officials and the public, but thought that it might not come to a lawsuit.

He said the company will most likely have a new concept plan for the Planning office by next week.

This story will be updated.




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