A proposed 144-unit housing development in Freeport would include six apartment buildings, five one-story garages, and a clubhouse with a pool, a dog park and nearly 8 acres of open space. Desert Road is at the left.

FREEPORT — Citing the need for more information, Freeport’s Project Review Board on Wednesday unanimously tabled approval of one of the largest housing developments to be proposed in town in recent memory.

The decision came after a discussion where Desert Road-area residents and employees of the nearby Waldorf Maine Coast Waldorf School said they were worried about more traffic in the already heavily traveled area around the proposed Beacon Residences.

The board expects the applicant, Devine Capital, to submit required items for review. They include final reviews from the town attorney and fire chief, and additional comments from a firm that reviewed a traffic study, according to interim Town Planner Caroline Pelletier.

Lynne Espy, development director of the Maine Coast Waldorf School, expressed concerns about the increased traffic the development could bring to an already heavily-traveled area. Alex Lear / The Forecaster

The Beacon Residences, construction of which could begin this May and be completed within a year, includes 144 units in six three-story apartment buildings, five one-story garages, a clubhouse with a pool, a dog park and nearly 8 acres of open space. A new access drive would be built off Desert Road.

The project would be built on two lots owned by L.L.Bean near the company’s Campus Drive distribution center and the town’s Hunter Road public works facility. The project cost and apartment rental rates have yet to be determined.

“This is a really large project for Freeport, the biggest project we’ve seen definitely since I’ve been here,” said Pelletier, who’s spent 17 years with the town.

Residents such as Lynne Espy, Waldorf’s development director, said the development could increase traffic near the Exit 20 interchange off Interstate 295.

Dune Drive resident John Manganello, who has children at Waldorf, compared crossing Desert Road to playing the videogame “Frogger,” in which frogs have to avoid being hit by cars.

Manganello said Desert Road is “in desperate need” of a sidewalk or expanded bike path from the east side of I-295 to Webster Road, stoplights or a redesign at the Interstate on- and off-ramps and a crosswalk at Waldorf.

“I hope one day I can comfortably have my kids walk or bike to school themselves without being nervous because there’s only a very narrow shoulder and many cars racing to get to work,” Manganello said.

Freeport Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Keith McBride countered that it wasn’t the developer’s job to fix the existing problems at Exit 20. He said there will be “ample opportunity” for residents to submit comments to the Maine Department of Transportation regarding safety.

A partially-funded DOT construction project would replace the bridge over I-295 and add traffic signals to the intersection.

Before the project can move forward, it needs final approval from the Project Review Board, along with Maine Department of Environmental Protection, state and federal permits. A traffic movement permit is not needed from DOT. Beacon Residences, which will be connected to public utilities like water and sewer, is also subject to performance standards that include building design, signage and landscaping, Pelletier has said.

Dougherty said he plans to return to the board Feb. 17.

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