South Street condo project moves forward in Gorham

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Gina Marianacci of 144 South St. in Gorham reviews Monday a rendering of a proposed 16-unit condo project at 136 South St. The Planning Board granted preliminary approval with conditions.

GORHAM — After considering neighborhood opposition, the Planning Board  Monday moved forward a request for a 16-unit condominium project at 136 South St. proposed by Plowman Development Group.

The board voted 3-1 (Molly Butler-Bailey opposed; and Vincent Grassi and Brian Plowman recused) to grant Grady Farm Subdivision preliminary approval with conditions.

Grassi joined the board Jan. 14 and missed earlier Planning Board discussions about the project; Plowman, the developer, stepped down from board discussion and the vote.

Monday’s meeting drew neighbors worried about stormwater runoff, elevation of the site raised with fill, quality of life and impacts to the neighborhood character.

“I’m disappointed,” Gina Marianacci of 144 South St. said after the board’s vote. “My disappointment is not enough to deny his approval.”

Neighbors spoke of sump pumps in their basements, and Steve Pomelow of 10 Spruce Lane said “we were walking in water” during the site walk on Nov. 28.

“We have a serious water problem in that area,”James Vollkommer of 6 Spruce Lane said.

Pomelow also said renderings of the project displayed in the meeting were two dimensional. “I want to see a 3D model,” Pomelow said.

Plowman and his representative, Steven Blake of BH2M, defended the project from the public podium. Fill is needed to capture and direct runoff into a detention pond and to allow for a gravity sewer line to South Street. The Maine Department of Environmental Projection will weigh in on the stormwater plans likely in a couple of weeks.

Butler-Bailey wants to see how the elevation impacts the area and advocated a hydrological study.

The Planning Board granted preliminary approval pending additional input from Plowman.

Plowman said the proposed project with its close proximity to Gorham Village is what is best for the area. “We don’t want to hurt the neighbors,” Plowman said.

A conceptual site plan document was submitted May 25 last year and plans for the project were  submitted on Oct. 2 and Dec. 7, according to printed Planning Board material. Preliminary reviews of the project in November and January ended in postponements.

The Town Council appoints Planning Board members. Grassi was appointed Jan. 8 to fill a vacancy left by Lee Pratt, who was elected to the Town Council; and Plowman was appointed Oct. 2 to fill a vacancy left by Scott Herrick, who moved to Portland. The seven-member board was left with an additional vacancy when Edward Zelmanow resigned last month.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 780-9089 or email rlowell@keepmecurrent.com.