TRENTON — A Tremont businessman is proposing to build a 40-unit housing project along Route 3.
The Trenton Planning Board was set to review the plan Wednesday, April 12, at 7 p.m. at the Town Office.
Tim Gott of Southwest Harbor is proposing a seven-building development on 70 acres of land on the east side of Route 3, between the former Vokes driving range and mini golf business on the north side and Ellsworth Chainsaw on the south side. The project is across from Wild Acadia Fun Park. The name for the housing development is Gateway Estates.
Seven buildings, located on the northern end of the property, would have a total of 40 townhouse-style units. Each unit would be two stories with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The initial plan called for 52 units, but that has since been scaled back to 40. They all will be rental units.
The plan calls for a paved access road off of Route 3 and paved parking lots for each building. A playground would be constructed and a pedestrian trail would be built for use by walkers and runners in warmer months and cross-country skiers in the winter.
“The design provides a setting where residents have the convenience of maintenance-free living combined with the ability to enjoy outdoor recreation throughout the expansive natural surroundings,” according to a summary included in the application for the project.
The project, if approved, would be built in two phases. Two buildings closer to Route 3, with a total of 10 units, would be built first. The remaining five buildings, with the other 30 units, would be built later.
Greg Johnston of G.F. Johnston & Associates in Southwest Harbor is Gott’s engineer for the project. Johnston said the inspiration for the project was that “some moderately priced housing is needed” in the area. He said the units that are proposed would be clean, spacious and great for families.
“I think this fills a void,” Johnston said. “We’re excited.”
Johnston noted the project is centrally and conveniently located to Ellsworth as well as Mount Desert Island. The entrance to the project is about two miles south of The Jackson Laboratory’s new mouse production facility at the former Lowe’s building in Ellsworth, for example.
Gott bought the two parcels on which the project is set to be built last year. They total 86 acres, but 16 of those (on the side farthest from Route 3) are being set aside and retained by Gott and are not part of this project.
John Bennett, chairman of the Trenton Planning Board, said he, too, sees the need for housing – he is also a real estate agent – and said he thinks Gott and Johnston have proposed “a good project.”
“We as a town just need to do our part to make sure we’ve done our due diligence,” Bennett said.
In addition to meeting town and state guidelines, Bennett said approval of the project is also contingent upon determining what impact fee the town might assess on the project.
Impact fees, according to information on the state of Maine’s website, “are charges assessed against new development that attempt to cover the cost of providing capital facilities needed to serve the development.”
The fees, according to the state, “provide one way to help ensure that existing residents will not bear the cost of new facilities necessitated by the new development.”