Affordable housing need is real

To the editor,

There is no doubt about the need for affordable and elderly housing in Kennebunkport, the question is what’s the best way to do it. The need comes from our children, our parents, our teachers, our police, firefighters and employees.

I find it interesting that the Land Use Ordinance, has no minimum square footage of living space for a primary residence but there is a 600 minimum square feet for an accessory apartment.

Years ago I owned a cottage complex in Wells with 13 units which I sold as condominiums, their average size was 20 feet x 24 feet or 480 square feet, they were two bedroom, one bath, year-around. For years my son lived in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York, which was less than 500 square feet.

In the 1950s the average house size was 983 square feet. Today it’s 2,500, all adding to building and energy costs.

Two of the biggest factors in the costs of housing are density (the number of units per acre) and dwelling size.

Much of Kennebunkport is very expensive to develop because of ledge, wetlands, the lack of public utilizes like water and sewer and restrictions of the LUO.

In the heart of Kennebunkport, the Dock Square area, there are lot sizes as small as 4,200, 4,600, 7,150, 8,000 square feet and up, so lot size has little to do with the values of real estate, location does. There are oceanfront homes on 5,000 square foot lots that sell for $3 million-plus.

There are several possible solutions that should be considered, they would all require changes to the Land Use Ordinance.

1. Reduce the minimum lot size in some areas served by public utilizes to as low as 5,000 square feet.

2. Reduce the minimum size of an accessory apartment to 480 square feet or less.

3. Instead of permitting two family dwellings on 40,000 square foot lots, reduce the lot sizes to 20,000 so they could be signal family homes and not condominiums.

Bill Case

Kennebunkport