The 66-unit Sunrise Cove Retirement Community will be built off Route 302 just north of the Westbrook line. Screenshot

The Windham Planning Board Monday night unanimously approved the final site plan for Sunrise Cove, gated retirement community for those over age 55 with 60 residential units near Highland Lake.

The $1.3 million project, proposed by Westbrook developer John Chase of Chase Custom Homes, will be on 38.3 acres off Route 302 just north of the town line with Westbrook. The property, a former campground, crosses over the Falmouth town line for Highland Lake frontage.

The site plan designed by engineer Jeff Amos of Terradyn Consultants in New Gloucester was first introduced in late 2019 and went through several revisions last year before the Planning Board gave the developer a six-month extension in August.

“The big change here is that it’s going to be split into two phases now,” Town Planner Jennifer Curtis said Monday night.

The first phase was approved Monday night and includes the construction of 60 residential units. Once completed, the developer can return to the Planning Board for approval of the second phase, which includes six mixed-use units for residential and commercial use. There will also be a clubhouse, a shared dock on Highland Lake and walking trails throughout the property.

The main reason for the delays was concerns from the Planning Board and the Highland Lake Association about the development’s environmental impact.


Speaking at a Planning Board meeting a year ago, Highland Lake Association member Rosie Hartzler said the association was concerned how such a “sizable development” would affect a lake that already was “demonstrating signs of stress” and diminished water quality.

Chase, the developer, and Amos, from Terradyn Consultants, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

“The applicant has gone to great lengths to try to ensure that this development won’t be harmful to Highland Lake,” Amos said Monday night.

There is a large drainage area, or swale, on the property that the Highland Lake Association has identified as a problem area, Amos said. Some 14,365 square feet of forested freshwater wetlands will be filled in and a pipe added to mitigate further erosion, he said. That work also will create a “net decrease in total phosphorus,” a mineral that in large amounts could be harmful to freshwater resources.

Amos also provided the Planning Board with permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Environmental Protection.

Besides a few clarifications, there was little discussion among board members.

“It strikes me as a well thought-out, designed project,” said Richard Yost.

Chase had tried to develop the property in 2017 as a 24-unit manufactured home park and 10-unit mixed development. He withdrew that project from the DEP’s consideration in July 2018, according to public documents provided by the Planning Board.

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