Broad Cove Ridge Condominiums, to be built off Route 1 in Cumberland, will have a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Screenshot / Town of Cumberland

The Cumberland Planning Board gave unanimous approval last week to a 50-unit residential condo building on Route 1.

Developer and builder Jon Snell’s project calls for a five-story building on 3.16 acres abutting Ledgeview Assisted Living to the north and flanked by I-295 to the west and Route 1 to the east.

Housing is the best use of the wooded parcel, said property owner David Spellman.

“This is exactly what the town needs because there is such a short supply of any kind of housing,” Spellman said, adding that it would help expand the town’s tax base.

The Broad Cove Ridge Condominiums project calls for five stories at 12,800-square feet each. In total, the building will have eight three-bedroom, 29 two-bedroom and 13 one-bedroom units. A 96-space parking area is planned, with 22 of those spaces in a below-ground level garage. The development will have a single 24-foot wide access from Route 1.

“This is a large project for Cumberland,” Town Planner Carla Nixon said.

The only comparable residential multiplex development in town in terms of size is the 96-unit Cumberland Foreside Village built in 2017 on Chelsea Way off Route 1, she said. Those are rental units and are spread over eight buildings.

The project drew some criticism at a public hearing last month from residents who questioned it’s impact on Cumberland’s rural appeal, and Town Council Chairperson Bob Vail said the site was too small for the condo residents to have any outdoor recreation.

“On the face of this it’s probably a good project for Portland or South Portland,” Vail said.

Planning Board Chairman Paul Auclair said that area of town is already developed and would be the best place for the project.

Town Manager Bill Shane agreed. “I don’t want to curtail development where we (already) have commercial-like development,” Shane said.

Planning Board member Lorraine Rardin said the condos could be a feasible option for those who might not be able to afford single-family homes in town. It could attract newcomers to town who “want to live in Cumberland but can’t touch the housing market,” or “older folks who are downsizing,” she said.

Other concerns focused on overcrowding in schools, and how the project might further contribute to the problem if it draw families with school-age children.

“Our schools are in dire need of space right now,” said resident Janet Holtham said.

Planning Board Vice Chairperson Jason Record agreed.

“There is a complete disconnect between development and the schools where it hurts us the most,” he said. Record was recently elected to the SAD 51 Board of Directors.

Record asked if the Planning Board had the authority to limit the number of bedrooms planned for some units, worrying that large families would continue to add to school crowding. Nixon said the board could not impose those limits.

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