After purchasing the 31-acre Chapman Farm property in December, Inn Along the Way is moving closer to starting construction on an interdependent senior community in Damariscotta.
Inn Along the Way President Sherry Flint and architect Rick Burt presented a sketch plan for the community the nonprofit hopes to develop at Chapman Farm, 741 Main St., Damariscotta, to the Damariscotta Planning Board on Monday, April 4.
Inn Along the Way purchased the property from the Gallagher-Chapman family in December 2015. Since then, the organization has been in the process of developing a master plan for the property.
During the April 4 meeting, Burt said Inn Along the Way hopes to build 12 small, environmentally friendly homes for older adults and elders to rent and live in independently. The units would be built in close proximity to encourage community development, Burt said.
“This wouldn’t be a place to park your car and close the door to your home,” Burt said. “We see this as a place where you get to know your neighbor, you visit with your neighbor, and you have community with your neighbor. Having the closely organized homes is key to this development.”
Four additional cottages are planned to provide short-term housing, as well as a small inn, an art center, a tea room, and a cafe. A portion of the property falls within Damariscotta’s C-2 commercial district.
Flint said Inn Along the Way hopes to create a farm-to-table program and have livestock on the property. A large portion of the acreage would be left undeveloped and open to the residents and the public to explore.
Burt said the nonprofit does not take the responsibility of preserving the legacy of the Chapman Farm property lightly.
“This is an important piece of land in Damariscotta that has been held by the Chapman family for nine generations,” Burt said. “We want the public to come out to see the site and help create a larger community together.”
The property’s wetlands, including a manmade pond, have been classified and delineated by Lauren Stockwell, of Stockwell Environmental Consulting Inc. Burt said Inn Along the Way is in discussion with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection regarding any potential restrictions to development around the wetlands.
The nonprofit will also consult with the Maine Department of Transportation regarding access to the campus, Burt said.
Inn Along the Way hopes to develop the land as part of a planned unit development, which is outlined in the Damariscotta’s land use ordinance. A planned unit development must be presented as a whole, including plans for streets, utilities, lots or building sites, buildings, and other uses and improvements of the land.
The planned unit development also allows for variations of the design, as long as the maximum residential density is not exceeded.
“The (planned unit development) criteria in the ordinance are ideal for this location based on the amount of land we’ll be working with,” Burt said.
Burt said Inn Along the Way will work with Damariscotta Town Planner Tony Dater to determine how much of the land is available for development per the planned unit development criteria.
Inn Along the Way will return to the board with a final plan at a later date.