The proposed apartment complex on Main and West streets. Contributed / Town of Freeport

Some Freeport residents have taken issue with a proposed apartment complex, to be located at the intersection of Main and West streets, and are asking others to air their concerns.

The Project Review Board will discuss the complex, planned to consist of two, three-story structures totaling 30 units, at a meeting on Wednesday.

A small group of residents who oppose the proposal distributed flyers encouraging other members of the community to turn out, and so far have found at least 100 people who share their concerns, they said.

“We’re hoping to fill the room with people who care about how Freeport looks,” said Susan Nourse, who retired as Freeport’s police chief in 2020 after 36 years, of the upcoming meeting. 

Gordon Hamlin, a resident of 40 years, explained that his main concerns with the proposed buildings are their appearance and location. The design is inconsistent with Freeport’s historic style, he said, and due to its location, it would be the first thing many people see upon entering the town. 

Hamlin noted the project is part of the town’s effort to increase housing, but the units will not be considered affordable. 


Nourse said she finds the scale and visual effect of the apartment complex “affronting” and described it as “a slap in the face to anyone driving up the road.”

“We have a design ordinance that really protects us from projects like this,” she said.

The town’s design review ordinance states its intent is to “assure that new buildings are designed and built in a manner compatible with the character of the Districts in terms of scale and visual effect.” It later says, “A sudden dramatic change in building height can have a jarring effect on the streetscape, i.e. the way the whole street looks.”

Town Planner Caroline Pelletier did not provide comment before the Coastal Journal’s deadline Wednesday.

Nourse hopes if enough residents share their concerns, the Project Review Board will “use the design review document the way it was intended,” she said.

Hamlin said he feels that “this creates a difficult precedent” as the project does not adhere to what the design review ordinance lays out.


Hamlin used a helium balloon to demonstrate the approximate height of the buildings on the lot at 22 Main St. Contributed / Gordon Hamlin

“I’m not opposed to housing, but in that spot, the scale is out of proportion with neighboring buildings and it detracts from the beautiful character that we love,” Nourse said.

Their biggest priority, Nourse said, is to make sure that people are aware that this project is being reviewed.

Hamlin said one of his favorite things about Freeport has always been that, despite hosting retailers and even a couple of chains, it still utilizes all the old buildings, dating from the late 18th to early 20th centuries.

Hamlin was largely involved in opposing tearing down the old colonial home that McDonald’s nearly replaced in 1984, and it was instead been built inside of the home to maintain the historic structure, something that has become a Freeport attraction.

“Part of the charm and reason why people come to Freeport is because of that New England character and this would really ruin it,” said Nourse. “Even one block off Main Street, it would be more palatable.”

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