Originally published in Castine Patriot, January 16, 2014
Castine Planning board green-lights subdivision site plan at mobile home park
Doug Koos, in front, at left, shows the latest site plan drawing, prior to a vote to approve the subdivision, located off The Shore Road, at a January 9 planning board meeting. Board members are, from left, Bob Friedlander, alternate Kathy Eaton and Chairman Douglas Wellington.
Latest subdivision plan drawings for The Shore Road project
The latest site plan drawings for the proposed subdivision off The Shore Road in Castine, presented at a January 9 planning board meeting.
by Anne Berleant
In a unanimous and not unexpected vote, the planning board approved on January 9 the site plan review and subdivision application for an eight-unit, 16-family subdivision within the Hancock Village Mobile Home Park.
“By the time it gets to the vote, it’s already been hashed out,” said CEO Drew Marks after the meeting.
The board had devoted several meetings and work sessions to the specifics of the project since a town meeting vote approved rezoning 4.5 acres to a “Rural Contract Zone” that allowed the units to be built on 12,000 square feet, the same density allowed for mobile home units. A condition of the contract zone was that eight units provide affordable housing as defined by the subdivision ordinance.
The planning board had approved the project in concept prior to the town vote and recommended citizens pass the contract zone.
Previous meetings and work sessions verified that the site plan has met all requirements under the subdivision ordinance, including septic, utilities, water supply and traffic.
The subdivision will be situated on both sides of Bowden Road, which lies inside the mobile home park run by Doug Koos off of The Shore Road. Four units will contain three bedrooms; four will have two bedrooms; all will have first floor garages. (See the site plan drawing at castinepatriot.com.)
The board accepted the last piece of the application, the “Notice of Rental Cap on Controlled Units,” as fulfilling the condition of enforceable agreement of the eight affordable housing units.
The notice stipulates that for a period of 20 years, at any given time, eight of the rental units will be subject to a rental cap to “not exceed 125 percent of the Hancock County Median Income times 30 percent.”
The formula is based on the definition of affordable housing in the subdivision ordinance, combined with federal HUD guidelines that define affordable housing as not costing more than 30 percent of a family’s income.
While the HUD guideline includes heat and utilities in that 30 percent, when the question of including an allowance for utilities was raised, both Koos and the board mostly balked.
“I don’t want to muddy the water with further restrictions,” said Chairman Douglas Wellington.
“Throughout the meetings, we haven’t mentioned HUD,” added board member Tom Comiciotto.
HUD guidelines were used as a model for “a reasonable rental for affordable housing,” countered board member Bob Friedlander. “We have to get it from somewhere.”
Based on the above formula, the cap for rent on the affordable units would stand at around $1,700 a month.
“There’s an understanding between me and the town that eight of these units will be rented below that number,” Koos said. “The allowance for utilities wasn’t something we agreed upon…it wasn’t even in the warrant article.”
The only other addition to the site plan was a cul-de-sac off the southerly end of the subdivision as a turnaround for fire trucks, as recommended by Fire Chief Randy Stearns. The approach to the turnaround will be 14 feet, with a 65-foot diameter for the turnaround itself.
The next step, said Koos in a follow-up email, is to receive permit approvals from the state under the Natural Resource Protection Act and for storm water runoff. “Assuming that goes smoothly, I will then apply for the construction permits.”
CEO Marks will issue permits for each building, per the zoning ordinance.
One neighbor, Paul Cyr, attended the meeting after receiving official notification as an abutter of the parcel. He introduced himself to Koos, and the men shook hands.
“We’ve been neighbors this long and this is the first time we’ve spoken,” said Koos.