2017-09-07 / Front Page

‘Eastern Trail’ subdivision mulled by OOB

By Grant McPherson
Staff Writer

Old Orchard Beach – Development of a 20 lot subdivision called Eastern Trail Estates along Ross Road in Old Orchard Beach is up for approval this fall, with home construction able to begin as soon as early 2018.

The lot would be located about halfway between U.S. Route 1 and Cascade Road. The north section of the lot will abut the Saco city line. Each lot is expected to be about a half-acre in size and support a single-family home.

The owner of the property, Kevin Beaulieu, has filed for approval of the project under the title Ross Road LLC. Bill Thompson, partner and project manager for BH2M engineers in Gorham, is in charge of design and application for the development. He and his firm will go before the Old Orchard Beach Planning Board on Thursday, Sept. 14 for final approval. Thompson did not know what the expected cost of the homes would be but described the price range as mid-level housing. The homes will be connected to public water and have access to the Eastern Trail.

“The area is very conducive to development, it’s a sandy gravel site well suited for what we’re doing,” Thompson said.

Residents who live on Pearl Avenue, Ross Road and Whispering Pines Drive raised their concerns over the development at a public hearing Aug. 10. Many residents mentioned traffic as a top priority, saying Ross Road is not safe to walk along and is not designed to handle more cars. RVs were of special note, since many of them take up almost the entire width of a road lane. Old Orchard Beach resident Tim Smith said the site of the proposed subdivision used to be a junkyard where people buried used cars and oil.

Assistant Town Planner Megan McLaughlin said the Maine Department of Environmental Protection cleared the land and declared any remaining material to be inert. McLaughlin said the proposed development will look similar to BeachMont Subdivision in Saco or the Village at Pond View Woods in Old Orchard Beach.

Kathy Smith, another Old Orchard Beach resident, was worried what new properties would do to the aesthetics of the area. She said she purchased property in a rural neighborhood for privacy and didn’t want to see more development.

McLaughlin said the center road of the subdivision had already been moved out of concern for the line of sight vehicles would have exiting the property. Residents felt a dip in the road before the entrance would make increase safety concerns on an already busy road.

On Tuesday, Aug. 29 a site walk was completed by developers and town officials to further discuss potential issues with the property. The main focus was storm water drainage and what kind of measures would need to be in place to prevent flooding. Project managers said operation and maintenance of the pond in the area would be left under the supervision of the homeowners association.

For the subdivision to have more than 15 lots there must be two means of egress. There is only one now but the second one could flow onto Easy Street in Saco, which would require a joint review between the Saco and Old Orchard Beach Planning Boards. The other options are to move forward with only 15 lots or Old Orchard Beach can grant a waiver and bypass the joint review.

McLaughlin has noticed more clusters of homes being built around Dunegrass Golf Club and Portland Avenue, and said people seem to be leaning more toward that option.

“It’s always great to see new development,” she said.

Contact Staff Writer Grant McPherson at news@inthecourier.com

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