2017-03-03 / Front Page

Prelim plans for apartment complex approved

Council will consider contract zone amendment
By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

The stone wall and antique replica streetlight will provide ambiance as individuals enter The Residences at Gateway Square, a luxury apartment complex that is proposed at 239 Payne Road. (Michael Kelley photo) The stone wall and antique replica streetlight will provide ambiance as individuals enter The Residences at Gateway Square, a luxury apartment complex that is proposed at 239 Payne Road. (Michael Kelley photo) A proposal to create a 288-unit multi-family neighborhood at 259 Payne Road will head back to the council for contract zone approval after the planning board approved Devine Capital’s preliminary site plan last week.

A contract zone amendment is needed because Devine Capital’s plan doesn’t meet zoning standards because it is too large and doesn’t have the requisite commercial component required in the Haigis Parkway zone. If approved by the council, the plan would come back before the planning board for final site approval.

The vision for the plan is to create a luxury apartment complex that attracts “lifestyle renters” with a robust amenities package that includes a covered parking, a dog park, pocket parks, a pond, mail building and a clubhouse with a business office, gym, recreation space, kitchen and meeting room, as well as an athletic field and pool with a fire pit and grills.

“It has been a great project to work on as a designer because I think the project is going to be unlike anything else in Maine,” said Will Conway, an engineer with Sebago Technics working on the project.

That luxury feel is also reflected in the aesthetics of the buildings. Tim Wentz, an architect with Gate 17 Architecture, a New Jersey firm that designs apartment complexes all across the eastern United States, said each of the 24-unit, three-story buildings will have a varied roofline, with large windows, wide trim, vinyl shake shingles and individual 9x6 balconies.

“We are carrying all the detailing around the building,” he said.

The buildings will feature a combination of 600-foot studios, one-bedroom units, two-bedroom units and 1,300-square foot three-bedroom units.

The clubhouse and the first of the project’s 12 residential buildings would be completed in the first phase. Additional phases would continue until the final two buildings, phase five, are constructed.

“It’s really a nice project and I think Scarborough is really going to benefit from it,” said planning board member Nick McGee, saying the only thing the project was missing is a walking path around the pond.

“It is definitely on the right track. Everything we have seen looks great,” said Board Chairman Corey Fellows.

“There are some loose ends to tie up,” he added, “I don’t see anything to prevent us from issuing preliminary approval tonight to have it go before the council.”

Planning board alternate Rachel Hendrickson said she was glad to see the clubhouse in the first phase of the project and “all the care and detail that has gone” into the plan, but was still concerned with if the apartments, or their accompanying garage had enough storage for things like bicycles or old boxes of family heirlooms.

While planning board members are bullish about the project, several people, including two at Tuesdays meeting, have raised concerns about how such a large complex might impact municipal services, especially the school system.

Town officials have said because maintenance of the parking, sidewalks and roadways and solid waste removal will be handled privately, the project should minimally impact the Public Works Department. Officials, and developers, also don’t expect a large impact to the school department.

The impact to emergency services would depend on the demographics of the residents. The developer would be charged with paying fees to help offset those aforementioned impacts.

Scarborough resident Wally Fengler said he doesn’t feel the impact fees “don’t cover anywhere near the cost” on municipal services.

“It is a great development. I have no reservations about the construction or quality (of the project), but I do have concern about the number of people living there,” he said.

Kenneth Fengler, a small business owner and teacher, shared his father’s concerns.

“It’s a beautiful feature and I do recognize there is a housing crunch in the area, but I do share some of the concerns about the cost (on town services),” he said, adding that he questions if the town asks enough of builders and developers to lessen the strain they put on services when they build projects.

Planning board member Susan Auglis told the Fenglers “I really understand what you are saying,” but like the rest of the board didn’t see a reason not to approve the preliminary plan and pass it along to the council.

She would, however, like to see the parking spaces, not in the garages better delineated either with paint or signage so guests know where they can, and cannot park. One thing that will need to get ironed out before the project moves too far along in the process is if flooding issues that have plagued that section of Payne Road stem from the property.

“We don’t look for the next through the door to solve all the world’s problems, but we also don’t want to see it get worse,” Fellows said.

Conway said his team would be amenable to addressing the issue if it is indeed caused by the site.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarbroughleader.com

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