2018-08-10 / Front Page

Goose Rocks subdivision nears approval

By Duke Harrington Staff Writer

KENNEBUNKPORT — A new 15-lot subdivision in Kennebunkport is getting ready to add 13 more homes following preliminary approval of a final site plan by the planning board on Aug. 1.

All 28 lots are within a quarter-mile of Goose Rocks Beach.

Phase I of the Binnacle Hill subdivision was approved by the planning board Aug. 16, 2017, creating 15 lots ranging from roughly 0.7 to 2.25 acres on 43.4 acres off New Biddeford Road, leaving 24 acres of open space.

In an Aug. 15, 2017 filing at the York County Registry of Deeds, in which the Department of Environmental Protection gave the go-head, the total project cost of construction by Binnacle Hill Development LLC was listed at $1.17 million.

Geoffrey D. Bowley, principal of Kennebunk-based Bowley Builders, signed a $1.49 million mortgage with Gorham Savings Bank on behalf of Binnacle Hill Development LLC on Aug. 21, 2017.

In August of 2017, selectmen gave the green light to install new town sewer connections along a new 1,020- foot dead-end road, Binnacle Hill, built into the subdivision.

Between December 2017, and May 2018, 11 of the 15 lots sold.

According to Sotheby’s International Realty, list prices ranged between $465,000 and $550,000 per lot.

The new 13 lots to be added as part of Phase II won preliminary approval from the planning board June 20, with the application declared complete Aug. 1.

A public hearing on the project expansion has been set for the planning board’s Aug. 15 meeting.

Phase II of the development will sit on 24.78 acres and will be served by a new private road, Timber Way, ex- tending from the private Henchey Way, which leads off of King’s Highway, near the beach. The new road is slated to be 1,492 feel long, requiring a planning board waiver from the usual rule limiting dead-end roads in Kennebunkport to 1,000 feet in length.

Henchey Way will be paved and continue to serve as a driveway for the two homes on it already, with the homeowners association for the new subdivision responsible for maintenance, as well as Timber Way.

At the end of Henchey Way near King’s Highway, the road will be made 12 feet wide, with a narrow esplanade and sidewalk, which will increase to a 14-foot-wide road with a 5-foot esplanade and a 5-foot sidewalk nearer to the proposed development.

The new sidewalk will extend the length of Timber Way. A gate will be used to keep casual traffic off of Henchey Way and Timber Lane.

Speaking on behalf of Bowley at the Aug. 1 meeting, Michael Tadema-Wielandt, a civil engineer and vice president of New Gloucester-based Terradyn Consultants, said Timber Way will be built to town standards with the intent that it be put to a vote for acceptance as a public way. However, Town Planner Werner Gilliam noted that selectmen have of late shied away from taking on subdivision roads for public maintenance, directing him to craft stringent guidelines for their future consideration.

“I can tell you the board of selectmen are taking a harder look at subdivision roads and what type of criteria they are going to be using for deciding whether or not they are going to put private roads on the warrant for public acceptance,” he said. “That’s sort of an in-process discussion. Right now, there isn’t really a set policy or set of guidelines they use.”

Henchey Way residents Robert and Lisa Miller expressed concern about the project at the June 20 meeting, asking Bowley to reduce the impact on their property by reducing the number of new homes by one, to 12 total.

Tadema-Wielandt replied that current regulations would actually allow Bowley to build 18 lots on the property.

The lot design and road plan are laid out as they are, he said, in order to leave 14 acres of open space, steering a wide berth around “a significant vernal pool” and a manmade pond on the property, both of which are habitats for the spotted turtle, a protected species. Because of those two areas, Tadema-Wiedlant said, the DEP and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife “are very much involved in looking at road design, lot layouts and areas of proposed impact.”

At the Aug. 1 meeting, Tadema-Wielandt said the lay of the land and “existing vegetation” would serve as a buffer between the Millers and the new house lots, shielding them from the headlights of passing cars.

Besides, he said, “Unless someone is lost, there’s going to be almost no one coming in and out of there at night, especially in the winter time.”

Tadema-Wielandt said some new plantings will be required of Bowley and the eventual lot owners, but added the list of what will be planted is intentionally non-specific.

“I think we need to allow them some flexibility in what they do. Our intent is to provide a healthy visual screen, but some species might take well and others might not,” he said.

Planning board members noted that the proposed Timber Way will cross wetland areas “in half a dozen places.”

The board also questioned whether Timber Way and/or the improved Henchey Way might include on-street parking for beach-goers.

To date, the only other significant objection to the new development has come from local resident Jennifer Kennedy, who launched a letter-writing campaign to local papers back in January, when Bowley’s expansion plans first came to public light.

“My intention is to make people aware and to think about all of the subdivisions currently in construction around town,” she wrote. “Now may be the time for the town planning board and residents of Kennebunkport to push ‘pause’ and think about the cumulative impact these projects will have.

“Goose Rocks is a special place in our town, and making sure the health of the beach and its community is preserved should take special consideration,” she wrote.

Staff Writer Duke Harrington can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

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