WINDHAM — Some local residents are shaking their heads at a proposal to build a 35-unit cluster subdivision off their road.

The proposed housing project at 120 Land of Nod Road would be on a more than 65-acre parcel of land in Windham’s Farm Zone, and include a more than 2,000-foot dead-end road off Land of Nod.

The Windham Planning Board reviewed a sketch plan of the development at its meeting last week, when the developer and surrounding residents spoke about the project. The board unanimously voted to hold a future public hearing and a site walk.

Windham’s zoning ordinance defines a cluster subdivision as “a form of development that permits a reduction in lot area and bulk requirements, provided there is no increase in the number of lots permitted under a conventional subdivision or increase in the overall density of development, and the remaining land area is devoted to open space, active recreation, preservation of environmentally sensitive areas, or agriculture.”

Questions and comments from residents touched on potential impacts related to traffic safety on Land of Nod Road, groundwater, property values in the area, and the school system.

“I certainly don’t begrudge somebody for developing land as they see fit. It’s their property, they have the right to do that,” resident Martin Lynch said. “I’m just concerned with the large number and how these houses might look – nobody knows.”

Lynch also referred to several other planned developments in the area, including the Highland Woods project – a proposed 22-unit cluster subdivision that would abut the development.

“I bought the property where I’m at because I wanted to be away from a lot of houses,” Lynch said. “I feel like the property is going to be diminished as a result of all these houses coming in.”

Developer Ken Grondin of Grondin Construction said he has lived in Windham for 33 years and is willing to meet one on one with people to answer questions about the project.

“I respect all of your concerns,” Grondin said, adding that he is “99 percent sure” that there will be no blasting involved in the project.

Project manager Jim Seymour of the engineering firm Sebago Technics said the project would eventually need a sign-off from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, but that the developers have not yet gone to the department at this stage in the planning.

“As I mentioned, we have a long way to go in the design process,” Seymour told the planning board.

Board Chairman David Douglass asked Grondin to elaborate on what type of houses would be built in the subdivision. Grondin said he anticipates “starter home-level” properties.

“I put a lot of thought into it, and we are local, so I’ll make it look good – and they’ll be proud of it when I drive by,” Grondin said about the project.

Several residents worried that increased traffic from the development would exacerbate their existing safety concerns about Land of Nod Road.

“The road is very dangerous as it is now,” said Mike Lessard, citing hairpin turns. He also wondered about the impact of new septic systems in the development.

According to a memo from town staff, Grondin will be required to submit a traffic study as part of the preliminary plan because the project is expected to generate more than 140 vehicle trips per day.

Resident Julie Lunt-Farley, who serves on the town’s private road ad-hoc committee, raised several questions about the project, including traffic. She also asked what kind of impact more starter homes could have on a school district that is already turning to portable classrooms to house its students.

“There’s a lot of things to consider, and again, I’m not here to prevent anyone from building,” Lunt-Farley said. “In fact, I believe wholeheartedly that if you own a piece of land, you should be able to do what you want with it because you pay property taxes on it.”

Matt Junker can be contacted at 781-3661 ext. 123 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MattJunker

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