2012-11-23 / In the News

Sea Ridge project back before board

Subdivision received initial approval in 2006
By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

Residents on Old Jasper Street may be in for a little dejá vu.

Sean Frank, a civil engineer for Sebago Technics, appeared before the Planning Board this week to request a subdivision amendment review for the Sea Ridge at Blue Point subdivision located between Pine Ledge Drive and Jasper Street.

Assistant Town Planner Jay Chace said the subdivision plan was originally approved as a two-phase project in 2006 but, in 2010, the second phase was split into two distinct phases, which made the subdivision a three-phase construction project.

Frank, who said phase one is nearly completed, said his client, Daily Double Enterprises, was seeking to amend the plan to do phases two and three together and access the project site through Jasper Street.

It is not the fact the subdivision is coming into the neighborhood that concerns residents, but rather the desire to use the old section of Jasper Street, which is crumbling and has drainage issues, for construction vehicles to access the construction site.

The first phase of the project was accessed via an easement through the old Turner property. That easement was only good for two years and has since expired. Chace said there is a possibility that the project could be accessed from Pine Ledge Drive.

Tom Taylor, a resident of 13 Jasper St. is concerned about the safety of construction traffic going down his street, especially in the morning and afternoon hours when his children are going to and from school. As it is, he said, the road is barely wide enough for two cars.

In 2008 the town approved $490,000 to improve Jasper Street due to its deteriorating condition and its proximity to the Sea Ridge subdivision project. Those funds, however, were reallocated and are no longer available for the road improvements. The developer would be required to fund $50,700 toward the cost of the improvements.

“Due to the long delay in starting the project, the town was unable to keep the original construction funding without spending or canceling it due to bondholder and auditing requirements,” Town Planner Dan Bacon wrote in a letter that went out to town officials and the Jasper Street neighborhood.

Funding for the roadwork and improvements will be placed in the next town budget as a capital improvement item.

John Thurlow, a resident of 82 King St. who also owns property at 6 Jasper St., shares Taylor’s concerns and said he wants to “delay approval until we know if those funds are available.”

Thurlow said he would also like to see the town include some sort of “performance guarantee” that would ensure the development would be constructed and the improvements to the road made.

“I urge you to delay action,” he said. “There is no rush.”

Planning Board member Ron Mazer said he worried what would happen to the road if the project moved forward but the town did not allocate the necessary funding to improve Jasper Street, compounding the problem faced a few years back.

Planning Board member Corey Fellows strongly urged the planning staff and Town Manager Tom Hall to look at the possibility of funding the improvements and whether the money would be available.

“To go through Jasper and not fix it and impact those residents there is just unfair,” said John Chamberlain, a member of the Planning Board.

Planning Board Chairman Allen Paul said since the subdivision has already been approved, the only question now is what’s the best way for construction vehicles to access the site.

The Planning Board decided to solicit Public Works Director Mike Shaw’s opinion before making its own recommendation about property access.

“Safety is an issue,” Paul said. “We need to address that before it moves forward.”

Bacon said in his letter if all goes as planned, the town would do its drainage, road reconstruction and other road improvements in the summer and fall of 2013, about the time the subdivision work is nearly completed.

“We want to minimize impacts and disruption to Jasper Street by coordinating the timing of construction and will make every effort accordingly,” Bacon wrote.

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