BRIDGTON — The Hotel Bridgton project has been tentatively approved after hours of deliberation by the Planning Board last week.

The board also met on May 22 and 29 to discuss the plan by Justin McIver of Maine Eco Homes to build a hotel on the Saunders Mill site and two adjacent parcels on Bacon and Kennard streets.

At the May 22 meeting, Michael Tadema-Wielandt of Terradyn Consultants presented final updates to the proposed project, including the elimination of a 175-seat banquet center, a reduction in the number of rooms in the hotel, a reduction in the number of parking spaces and the shifting of some parking and paved areas.

The board must still present its written findings of fact and conclusions of law, which will occur at a Planning Board meeting on Monday, June 10 at 3 p.m.

After a review of these statements, the board will vote on whether to officially approve the project, which has been in the works for over a year.

Tadema-Wielandt said in an interview that the Planning Board “found that all the standards are met. In theory, this is just a formality — the formal process.”

Cape Elizabeth attorney David Lourie, who represents a citizens’ group called Save Kennard Street, said the board “didn’t cover all of the issues when they went through them one by one.”

“They skipped a few,” he added, including stream protection provisions.

Lourie is concerned about certain prohibitions within the stream protection district. The board agreed to allow him to submit alternative findings of fact at the Monday meeting.

“I’m hoping that when they go through the actual facts and what’s shown on the papers that they will change their mind,” he said. “We’re still alive and kicking.”

Tadema-Wielandt said McIver is “thrilled. All along, he’s had this vision of a hotel to help drive business to downtown Bridgton. He’s absolutely thrilled that the Planning Board approved the project.”

McIver could not be reached for comment before the Lake Region Weekly’s print deadline.

In a past interview, he has said “I know 100 percent that this is good for Bridgton. I would not do something to hurt Bridgton. This is something our community needs so bad.”

The project has been a source of contention in town. Some residents are upset about the hotel’s location, size and impact on the surrounding area while others say it is exactly what the town needs and the location is perfect.

Jane Vaughan can be reached at 780-9103 or at [email protected]

Hotel Bridgton is proposed to be located at the site of the former Saunders Mill at Bacon and Kennard streets.

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