A display of the five building types that may be used at the 119 home Wormell Farm project proposed to the Planning Board Tuesday. Courtesy photo / City of Westbrook

The Westbrook Planning Board this week welcomed Tuesday changes in the designs of 119 homes proposed for the Wormell Farm on Brook Street.

The board in December 2020 had criticized the lack of variety among the 58 duplexes, calling them boring and “long and low,” but members were receptive to the five mixed building styles that were presented at their Tuesday meeting.

“I think the buildings are much better than before, but it can probably be taken a bit further without impacting anything on the site,” Planning Board member Rebecca Dillon said. “You have a really nice road layout. It’s nicely organized, but it also has an organic feel to it.”

The board called for some more aesthetic work before voting on the project at a future meeting. Tinsman is hoping for final approval in October.

Dillon, along with member Robin Tannenbaum, called for the duplexes to be staggered. 

The 21 Saco St. project combines commercial and residential units. Screenshot / Westbrook Community TV

Member Larry McWilliams said he liked the upgrades because the development now looks “more like the housing complex than a renters duplex.”

I’m not a big fan of duplexes still, but I do like the way the design has come out to show different aspects of the facades,” he said.

Three residents spoke at the meeting, mainly concerned with traffic in light of the 18 duplex project across the street owned by Chris Lefevre, though developers said their traffic impact will be minimal, and City Planning Director Jennie Franceschi noted planned improvements to nearby streets will alleviate traffic issues.

“We did do a full-blown traffic study for this. The conclusions were that the project would generate 66 trips in the morning hour and 79 in the afternoon, 83 on a Saturday,” Developing Engineer Shawn Frank said.

Resident and president of the Westbrook Blazes Snowmobile Club Dan McCarthy, joined by McWilliams, was concern the project would impact some snowmobile access and asked developers to work on maintaining nearby trails.

“The city uses the trails to sell the city, but seeing this is overwhelming, and we need to try and keep our trail system intact,” McCarthy said.

Also Tuesday,  the Planning Board unanimously approved plans for a four-story commercial condo project at 21 Saco St., site of the former MAS Community Health, Medical Staffing and Home Care offices. The MAS building would be demolished to construct the new building, which would have four business spaces totaling 13,000 square feet on the first floor and 29 residential units above.

Developers did not comment on a timeline for the project. 

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