The Damariscotta Planning Board has found Stepping Stone Housing Inc.’s application to be complete, however, the nonprofit will need to provide additional documentation to the town before the board decides whether to approve the project on the former Blue Haven property.
The board reviewed a checklist in the town’s site plan review ordinance with Stepping Stone Housing Inc. Executive Director Marilee Harris on Monday, Dec. 5.
The board told Harris the nonprofit will need to provide a landscape plan for the property, meet with a soil and water conservationist, and provide a plan for stormwater management and erosion control.
In addition, Stepping Stone will need to indicate the size and location of any signs that will be on the property and obtain a permit for the signs. The nonprofit will also have to submit a statement about lighting and glare control on the property.
Stepping Stone also agreed to provide a budget to show it has the financial capacity to complete the project as proposed.
The board held a public hearing Monday, Dec. 5 about Stepping Stone’s proposal to build five new units of approximately 700 square feet each on its property at the corner of Hodgdon and Pleasant streets. A small, existing cottage on the property would remain, while other structures would be removed.
Neighbors to the property have spoken against the nonprofit’s proposal for a variety of reasons regarding the project’s potential impact on the neighborhood.
Jessica Sirois, a licensed professional counselor who lives and practices across from the Blue Haven property, expressed concern about the amount of noise that could be generated and the possible impact it could have on her business.
Gabe Shadis, of 10 Pleasant St., asked the board to require Stepping Stone to provide a stormwater and erosion control plan. Shadis said there is a drop-off on the Stepping Stone property that causes excess rain water to run into his yard.
Sirois, Shadis, and Dick Mayer, of Church Street, each said Stepping Stone’s plan for six units on the property is more than what the property can handle.
In September, the Damariscotta Planning Board voted 3-2 to accept Code Enforcement Officer Stan Waltz’s determination that the seven units Stepping Stone was then proposing to have on the property were grandfathered.
Stepping Stone has since reduced the number of units proposed on the property to six, but the neighbors said that is still too many.
After the public hearing, the board voted 4-0-1 to accept the application as complete. Shari Sage abstained from the vote, saying she had “a conflict of opinion about some of the terminology” in the application.
Stepping Stone will need to provide the requested documents before the board votes on whether to approve the project, according to Town Planner Tony Dater.
The date for the Damariscotta Planning Board’s January meeting has not yet been determined.