A proposal by Bremen developer Dan Goldenson to build an eight-room motel near Hilltop Stop in Damariscotta met encouragement from the Damariscotta Planning Board on Monday, Sept. 11.
Goldenson purchased the property at 374 Main St., which includes the Hilltop Stop convenience store and gas station, from Gary and Jane Gravel in the summer of 2016. Goldenson has made improvements to the property, including the addition of a public restroom.
Goldenson said he hopes the construction of the motel rooms would meet a need in the community.
“We have a compelling need for year-round motel rooms, and Hilltop Stop is in the zone that allows for these units,” Goldenson said. “It’s in a nice, central spot for people who are coming into the area, and would make a little dent in a need that exists.”
The proximity of Lincoln Academy and LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus contribute to the need for a year-round motel, Goldenson said.
“Lincoln Academy has some students that live there, and when their parents, relatives, and friends come to visit them, there isn’t always a place open year-round for them to stay,” Goldenson said. “Similarly, with the hospital, if you have someone staying there, you want to be able to stay close by if you can.”
“I’m really hoping to meet those institutional needs,” Goldenson said.
Goldenson’s proposal calls for the construction of two buildings containing a total of eight motel rooms. The rooms will measure approximately 300 square feet each. While the rooms might have a microwave and a small refrigerator, the units “will not have any facilities that would enable them to be apartments,” Goldenson said.
“They will have the traditional things as a motel room, but I would not be putting in a kitchen so these units could be used as rental units,” Goldenson said.
The units would be built between Hilltop Stop and Clark Farm’s greenhouse. To alleviate some of the traffic congestion that could arise from the Chapman Street entrance, Goldenson said he plans to remove the Bonus Redemption LLC building behind Hilltop Stop and build a new, smaller redemption center near the picnic tables on the opposite side of the store.
Goldenson is working with Newcastle architect Tor Glendinning, principal architect at 44 Degrees North LLC, to design the motel. Goldenson said Glendinning is drawing inspiration from Irish cottages for the design.
One of the buildings will contain a small manager’s office where guests will check in and out of the units. The manager would be responsible for maintenance and hospitality, but would not live on-site, Goldenson said.
Goldenson said he wanted to present his ideas to the board for feedback before moving forward with a full plan and application. Board members responded positively to Goldenson’s plans.
“We really need a space like this in town, and you would be addressing a need,” alternate board member Jenny Begin said. “I think it’s really wonderful you’re working with an architect and this is just a beautiful design.”
Wilder Hunt, the acting planning board chair due to the absence of Chair Jonathan Eaton, concurred with Begin’s statement.
“It looks like this would be an enterprise that would certainly get a lot of use,” Hunt said.
Goldenson thanked the board and said he will return to a future meeting with a full plan.