LWS Development wants to build 30 apartments at 22 Main St. in Freeport. Contributed / Town of Freeport

The Freeport Project Review Board last week tabled a vote on a controversial apartment complex proposed for Main Street after requesting changes to exterior building materials and landscaping.

The Feb. 15 meeting drew residents both in support and opposition to LWS Development’s plan for two, three-story buildings with a total of 30 apartments at 22 Main St. The developer said this week that it will address the board’s concerns and also defended the project as being in line with the town’s goals for the village.

Review Board Chairperson Guy Blanchard said he would approve the project as it stands, but other members wanted the materials used for the buildings’ siding, window treatments or other aesthetic elements altered to be more compatible with the neighborhood. They also sought more greenery facing both Main and West streets. Board member Ford Reiche said he was opposed to the project altogether.

“I support what I see in the project but need to see some changes in the materials,” said board member Jason Donahue.

Member Linda Berger said her approval would hinge on those changes, too.

Board member Lynn Hamlen said she was “disappointed in the lack of vegetation,” a concern echoed by member Jim Monteleone, who said better landscaping was needed to “adequately put these buildings in harmony with the surroundings.”


Paul Peck, principal of LWS Development, said in an interview with The Forecaster this week that they have met with the board several times to address and accommodate various concerns about the design.

The developers are prioritizing density, Peck said, acting on the town’s stated interest in increasing housing, which was why they pivoted from the original design “at great cost and time, to multi-family units with flat roofs.”

The site was selected in accordance with the town’s recently completed downtown visioning project, he said.

Residents who participated in the project said a top priority was “downtown housing of all price points,” Brent Richardson of the Freeport Economic Development Corporation told the board at the meeting.

“There used to be a significant population in the village, which drove the business community,” Peck said.

“People don’t like change and they like the lot how it was, but that’s not how you get development and housing downtown,” he added.


With retailers moving away from the physical stores that Freeport Village prides itself on, filling the downtown with residents has become more vital, he said.

Opponents of the project cite architectural and proportional incongruity from the neighboring buildings, as well as a concern with its proximity to the center of town. The Project Review Board said it had received about 60 letters opposing the project ahead of the Feb. 15 meeting.

At the meeting, however, about half of the residents who spoke to the board liked the project.

“As a parent of an almost 18-year-old, I need housing in this town so that my child can continue to live here,” said Candy Mariner.

“If you want a vibrant downtown, you need housing,” said Tawni Whitney. “Paul has been very thoughtful, he’s worked with the board and he’s responded to everyone’s needs.”

Some residents at the meeting continued to critique the scale and location of the buildings, but overall, the board accepted those aspects.


Were the buildings to be smaller and with fewer units, Peck said, “the only way to make that work financially is to have them be luxury condos and apartments. We wanted to build to the normal market in Freeport.”

“We have a significant housing crisis,” said Peck. “We have some of the oldest housing stock in the country … the only way to get us out of this housing crisis is to build.”

Peck said the Project Review Board’s concerns will be addressed.

“We’ll be enhancing the landscaping and making changes to the materials of the building,” he said, adding that “we spent a tremendous amount of time and money to understand the historic and colonial architecture” in town.

“We’re persisting, we’re pushing through, and we’re hopeful that we’ll be approved,” he said.

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