Devine Capital wants to build 144 residential units off Desert Road in Freeport. Courtesy / Sebago Technics

FREEPORT — A 144-unit residential development project proposed on two lots off Desert Road was scheduled to be unveiled at the Project Review Board meeting Wednesday.

The development, called The Beacon Residences, will include six apartment buildings, five one-story parking garages, a clubhouse with a pool, a dog park and nearly 8 acres of open space.

The Project Review Board meeting set for 6 p.m. Nov. 20 was held after the Forecaster’s print deadline and the paper was unable to reach the developer, Devine Capital, for comment on the cost of the project and how much rents are expected to be.

A large new residential development could be built on Lots 24 and 24B off Desert Road in Freeport. Courtesy / Town of Freeport

At an initial meeting in mid-September, Kylie Mason of Sebago Technics said the project is similar to one being built on the Haigis Parkway in Scarborough. Called The Beacon at Gateway, that complex includes 288 “luxury” units on 33 acres.

A final vote on the Freeport project could take place in December or early 2020.

Interim Town Planner Caroline Pelletier said Monday that “this is definitely a larger-type project for Freeport.”

It’s also unusual in that the development will occur in a commercial zone. Pelletier said for the project to move forward, both zoning and subdivision amendments were required and were approved this past summer.

She said the new rules are key because they allow for higher density than elsewhere in town.

The project will require both site plan and subdivision review from the Project Review Board and the development will also be subject to performance standards that include building design, signage and landscaping, Pelletier said.

At the September meeting of the board, Mason said The Beacon Residences project will include studio and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. She said they’re mostly geared toward younger couples or young professionals with roommates.

Mason said the project will require approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, as well as the town, but no traffic movement permit is needed from the Maine Department of Transportation.

The project will be connected to public utilities, including water and sewer, and will include “substantial landscaping and buffering,” Mason said.

Developers will be building a new access drive off Desert Road for the project, which includes more open space than is required by the ordinance, Mason said, adding that much of the undeveloped land is designed to protect wetlands and streams.

The two lots are owned by L.L. Bean and are located near the company’s distribution center on Campus Drive and the town’s public works facility on Hunter Road.

Only one adjacent property owner spoke at the September meeting, and he encouraged the Project Review Board to carefully consider the traffic impact of bringing “200 more cars” to an already congested part of town.

Members of the Project Review Board seemed generally in favor of the project earlier this fall, but also asked the developer to consider making connections to the town’s trail systems, as well as sidewalks and new pedestrian and bicycle access along Desert Road.

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