2011-12-15 / News

Topsham revisits housing plan

BY DARCIE MOORE Times Record Staff


The Board of Selectmen will continue discussion tonight about Affordable Midcoast Housing LLC’s finalized housing plan for residences at the former Navy Annex.

In October 2010, developer George Schott and his company, AMH, purchased 702 housing units in Brunswick and Topsham from Northeast Housing, a partnership between the Navy and Balfour Beatty, the corporation that bought the rights to manage the military housing in 2005. The underlying land is now owned by the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA).

On Nov. 17, the MRRA board approved a purchaseand sale agreement to sell the land beneath the residences — 214 acres in all — to Schott’s firm. A contingency of that deal asks the Brunswick Town Council and Topsham Board of Selectmen to indicate that they concur with the plan.

On Dec. 5, the Brunswick Town Council voted to endorse the goals of the housing disposition plan, but not the details.

On Nov. 16, the day before the MRRA board voted, the Topsham Board of Selectmen first considered the request for a letter supporting the housing disposition plan. Selectmen delayed a vote on the request, in part because they wanted more time to digest new information about the plan presented that night by Scott Howard, who attended the meeting as Schott’s representative.

AMH’s plan to redevelop the former Navy Annex property in Topsham includes 12 items, according to a resolution that selectmen will consider tonight.

According to the Topsham Annex Redevelopment Plan, AMH would own the remaining 73 housing units, land, roads, overhead and underground utilities excluding the electric distribution system. The firm would upgrade the utilities to meet town, state and utility district standards as individual homes are sold or as future development occurs.

The plan calls for AMH to work with the town on the housing development plan to meet local zoning and Topsham Local Redevelopment Authority community goals.

With a current occupancy of 33 percent of the 73 units, AMH expects to be able to rent an additional two units per month to reach at least 90 percent occupancy within two years depending on market conditions, according to its plan.

AMH also envisions constructing a mix of single-family homes, multi- family homes or condominiums on the undeveloped land, based on market demand and conditions. It would first plan to build new single- family homes on Liberty Circle.

Unlike the plan selectmen discussed Nov. 16, the revised housing disposition plan does not mention any planned sale of the housing units to an abutting developer.

Selectmen are also scheduled to consider the following:

— Results of the fireworks questionnaire on the town website.

— Accepting a $ 1,241.82 grant from the Maine Memory Network for the Topsham Historical Society to use for equipment and training to scan documents.

— An application submitted by Historical Society for digitizing town archives materials.

— Awarding the bid for grinding and disposal of wood chips at the solid waste facility.

— Action on Saindon Place, which an attorney has found is owned by the Sagadahoc Agricultural and Horticultural Society, as it relates to plowing of the short road reaching from the fairgrounds to Elm Street.

— Action on a banking services proposal recommendation.

— Appointment of Michael Whitney to the Finance Committee and Daniel Breed to the Topsham Housing Authority.

— Action on determining the property line between town-owned land at the transfer station, and abutter Mary Elwell, who proposes sharing with the town the cost of hiring a surveyor.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the municipal building, 100 Main St.

Return to top