Lewis Avenue lot development-- August 1, 2019

August 1 -- the Planning Board held another public hearing on this project and reviewed all submittals and application against requirements in Town Subdivision and Land Use ordinance. After a thorough review, the plan was approved unanimously with several conditions.  Once those conditions are met, construction may begin by the end of August

July 15, 2019 --  contractor McGee will be simply removing trees that were cut down over a month ago. To retain the value of the fallen trees, the trees will be removed and sold shortly. 

June 20, 2019 -- the Planning Board held a public hearing on this project.  The proposal was presented to about 35 people and minutes are here.   

Why was this wooded lot cleared suddenly on Lewis Avenue at the end of May?  

According to the engineer for the owner, a one story 5 unit apartment unit operated by Uplift Inc is planned for this lot.  Uplift is a private, non-profit agency, which exists to create conditions under which people with developmental disabilities can live in a community.   Many of their homes are designed to support people who have significant medical needs as well as developmental disabilities. Some have nursing staff available at all times, while others have nurses that are available based on the needs of the individuals who live in the home.  Some of the Augusta area homes are seen here.  

The Town heard that there was a planned Uplift home going in there months ago but never received anything tangible until early June and those are attached below.  The owner had McGee clear the lot which is certainly legal and allowable on their private property.  The 2 reasons they cleared it without any notice was McGee had an opening in their schedule to do this work and the Army Corps of Engineers doesn't allow trees greater than 4” in diameter being cut in June and July.  This is due to the endangered Northern Long-eared Bat mating during these two months. 
While this was legal, they really should've let folks know they were going to do this ahead of time out of courtesy to neighbors. 
This boarding facility will trigger Planning Board review as a major subdivision in the Residential Zone.  These are considered "multi-family homes and apartment" per our Land Use ordinance and certainly allowed in any residential district.  We will be processing this as a "major subdivision" per our Ordinance which involves a few public hearings.
These 5 living units will likely not generate much more traffic than a normal 5 unit apartment.  In fact, none of the tenants will have a car.    
The town has now received the application and plans and a copy is available for viewing at the Town Office or as seen below. 
Also Maine state law is pretty clear when it comes to these homes as noted here:

§4357-A. Community living arrangements

 1. Definitions.  As used in this section, unless the context indicates otherwise, the following terms have the following meanings.

 A. "Community living arrangement" means a housing facility for 8 or fewer persons with disabilities that is approved, authorized, certified or licensed by the State. A community living arrangement may include a group home, foster home or intermediate care facility.

 B. "Disability" has the same meaning as the term "handicap" in the federal Fair Housing Act, 42 United States Code, Section 3602.

 2. Single-family use.  In order to implement the policy of this State that persons with disabilities are not excluded by municipal zoning ordinances from the benefits of normal residential surroundings, a community living arrangement is deemed a single-family use of property for the purposes of zoning.