More scrutiny for Gorham project

The Gorham Planning Board Monday delayed action on a housing development proposed for Gorham Village until it receives more information.The postponement  followed road, traffic and enviromental concerns raised by the public.

Bramblewood LLC is proposing the Glenwater Village, a residential subdivision with 20 single family lots and 10 apartments in five buildings with two units in each. According to Gorham’s planning office,Bramblewood LLC principals are Greg McCormack and Amy Mulkerin.

The proposal is located off Glenwood Avenue and off Water Street. Interior development roads would be named Grove Street, Dogwood Lane, and Cottage Court. Access to the development would be from Glenwood Avenue that intersects with Water Street. A secondary access could be from a discontinued stretch of Water Street.

The Glenwater Village subdivision is one of three large developments sought in the town. Jon Smith of Great Falls Construction plans 30 apartments in a five-story building he is seeking to construct at 17 Railroad Ave., and Susan Duchaine of Design Dwellings is seeking permission for a 14-unit condo project  at 346 Main St.

A contingent of neighbors of the proposal attended Monday’s meeting and voiced concerns about quality of life in their neighborhood. Issues include the connector with Water Street and  allegations of long ago dumping at the site.

The development request was last heard at a Planning Board meeting on March 7 and Dustin Roma of Roma Consulting Engineers represents the developer. “I think the project is ready for preliminary approval tonight,” Roma said Monday.

But, Scott Herrick, vice chairman of the Planning Board said, “There are unanswered questions.”

Edward Zelmanow, Planning Board chairman, said the project requires Maine Department of Environmental Protection approval but permits had not been received yet, and the connection to Water Street remains in question.

“We have outstanding questions that would preclude us granting preliminary approval,” Zelmanow said.

Planners voted 6-0 (Jim Anderson absent) to postpone further review until the board receives more input.

Meanwhile, Maine Department of Environmental Protection inspectors will visit the site to assess the soil following public complaints. Brian Beneski of the department’s Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management said Tuesday he has received three complaints that the site had once been used for dumping. He said one complaint was specific to dry cleaning chemicals.

Beneski said two people from the department would visit the site possibly as early as Friday. “We’re just following up on complaints,” Beneski said.

Aaron Hill of 17 Water St., a lifelong Gorham resident, recalled once seeing rusted out 55-gallon drums in that area and is concerned that ground disturbance could “unleash” toxicity. “It’s right next to the Tannery Brook watershed,” Hill, who presented the Planning Board with a citizens’ petition containing about 50 names,  said in Monday’s meeting.

“The pollution issue should concern everybody,” Robert Berks of 14 Glenwood Ave. said.

In a road issue, connecting to an abandoned lower section of Water Street could prove problematic. “We consider it to be a discontinued road with a public easement,” Town Manager David Cole said Tuesday.

Poirier said in Monday’s meeting that the developer would need approval from the Gorham Town Council to build a road over a public easement.

Use of the discontinued portion of Water Street could provide access to the proposed development for emergency vehicles. “I can’t imagine it will hold heavy traffic,” Tami Reynolds of 43 Water Street said.

Hill said the proposed development would add more traffic to the neighborhood. “Traffic is a big concern,” Hill said.

A number of commuters traveling along Gorham’s Main Street cut over Water and Church streets to avoid traffic congestion at the intersection of routes 25 and 114 in Gorham Village. Philip Meyers, 29 Water St., figured the development would add another 100 cars on Water Street on a daily basis.

Zelmanow wants Gorham Public Works Director Bob Burns and a traffic engineer to review Water Street. He also wants input as to whether the traffic signal at Main and Water streets could be re-programmed.

Rob  Lavoie, chairman of the Gorham Conservation Commission, said the developer has granted it a trail easement through the property. There would be two parking spots for trail visitors.

The site is near the Tannery Brook Preserve that has trails. “We would love to see interconnected trails through the town,” Zelmanow said.

The general area of the proposed development was historically known as Fairy Glen and is identified on an old map. The Glenwater Village proposal includes two parcels – Map 99 lot 61 that Gorham Tax Assessor Mike D’Arcangelo  Tuesday said town records indicate is owned by Lydia Hannaford and Map 101 lot 21 is owned by Charles Hannaford, who D’Arcangelo believes is deceased. “Bramblewood LLC has a purchase and sale agreement to purchase both parcels,” D’Arcangelo said.