A rendering of the proposed Lambert Woods project from Maine Cooperative Development Partners. Maine Cooperative Development Housing Partners/Aceto Landscape Architects.

A newly approved project in Portland’s North Deering neighborhood is expected to add 162 units of affordable housing.

The Lambert Woods project by Maine Cooperative Development Partners is moving ahead after the planning board’s 6-0 vote Tuesday to approve a major site plan for the project at 165 Lambert St. Chairperson Maggie Stanley was absent.

The firm believes the project and a sister project being developed in Libbytown are the first limited-equity co-ops in Portland – an ownership model that proponents say boosts affordability and gives residents more say over management and costs.

“The values we’ve brought to this all along are aspects of community, environment and also affordability,” Liz Trice, a partner at Maine Cooperative Development Partners, said before Tuesday’s vote. “We are sticking only with models that provide long-term affordability and we have done a ton of work to make the site really compact and preserve the surrounding forest.”

The project was approved conditionally, with the board also stipulating that Maine Cooperative Development Partners comply with a handful of additional requests, including that they provide documentation from utility companies about their ability to serve the project and contribute $13,200 to the city’s tree fund.

The project is expected to add an influx of much-needed affordable housing on either side of Washington Avenue Extension between Lambert and Auburn streets.


Lambert Woods North – located north of Washington Avenue Extension – will include 72 rental units available to households earning under 60% of the area median income, Trice said in an email before Tuesday’s board meeting.

The units also would have the potential to switch to cooperative ownership in 15 years.

Lambert Woods South will include 90 units in a limited equity co-op available to households earning between 60% and 100% of the area median income.

The area median income in 2022 ranged from $78,200 for one person to $111,700 for a family of four, according to the most recent income and occupancy qualifications being used by Maine Cooperative Development Partners.

The maximum monthly cost, including utilities, for a one-bedroom for households earning 100% AMI would be $1,955, with the cost going down for families earning below the area median income.

Several people expressed concerns about traffic from the project in written public comment submitted to the board, with more than two dozen signing on to a letter asking for intersection improvements and a new traffic signal, and another group also submitting petitions asking the city to consider “traffic calming” measures.


City staff told the board that a preliminary analysis is being done in response to the petitions. A traffic analysis already determined a traffic signal wasn’t necessary at Washington Avenue Extension and Auburn Street, but staff said that in the future, should one be needed, it could be paid for with capital improvement funds and installed by the Department of Public Works.

The city sold the project site at 165 Lambert St. to Maine Cooperative Development Partners in 2020 as part of an effort to develop more affordable housing, according to a staff report presented to the board.

The developer, along with the Szanton Company, is also behind the Dougherty Commons project in Libbytown, which will be located on the site of the former West School.

That project was approved by the planning board last spring, but Trice said Tuesday that her firm plans to go back to the board with a proposal to add more row housing and combine two buildings into one to slightly increase the number of units from 120 to 129.

Both projects include limited equity cooperative housing. Co-ops are owned and managed by residents, rather than landlords, but the cost to buy-in to a limited equity co-op is often less than a market rate co-op.

There are limits in a limited equity co-op on how much profit residents can make from selling their shares, but proponents say the model can help create permanent affordable housing for people who don’t make enough to afford market rates.

Trice said construction could start this fall, if all goes according to plan, with the aim of both projects completed by 2025.

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