With a unanimous vote Thursday, Feb. 16, the Newcastle Planning Board approved an application from Mobius Inc. to convert a house and barn at 21 Academy Hill Road into apartments for its clients.
The board’s approval is contingent on the town receiving a letter from Newcastle Fire Chief Clayton Huntley about the property’s fire safety plan.
Mobius Inc. Executive Director Rebecca “Becca” Emmons, Director of Finance and Administration Katherine Hunt, and Erin Grimshaw, the project manager, attended the Feb. 16 meeting to answer questions about the plan.
Mobius’ application calls for the construction of four apartments, a two-bedroom, two-bath unit; a one-bedroom, one-bath unit; and two two-bedroom, one-bath units. The site will be outfitted with a monitored fire alarm and sprinkler system.
The residence will have 24/7 staffing on site, Emmons said.
Since the board first reviewed Mobius’ application in January, the agency has completed a bid process for the renovations of the inside of the building. The contract was awarded to Bolster Builders, of Pemaquid.
Emmons said Bolster Builders plans to use local vendors and contractors for the work.
“We’re really proud of this selection,” Emmons said. “This project is for Mobius clients, but also one of our goals was to have a direct contribution to the local economy.”
The planning board held a public hearing about Mobius’ application before its meeting. Paul Sidelinger, the only member of the public to attend the hearing, asked if Mobius had plans to install a safety system for individuals who are blind or deaf.
Emmons said Mobius plans to conduct a walk-through of the buildings with the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office after the agency finalizes the purchase of the property, and a system could be installed based on the office’s recommendations.
Sidelinger also voiced his support of the project.
“I think the community really needs it and it’s wonderful,” Sidelinger said.
Emmons said the agency has received positive feedback from neighbors about the project.
The board unanimously voted to approve the project, with the understanding that the town must receive the letter from Huntley.