The driveway onto Seal Cove Road from the planned Green Island Way subdivision. The route will be a driveway, not a road, according to the applicant, because it will not be serving all of the units in the subdivision. ISLANDER PHOTO BY SARAH HINCKLEY

Eco-home subdivision on Freeman Ridge Rd.

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — A subdivision planned for 12 Freeman Ridge Road was approved by the Planning Board Nov. 7 by a 4-1 vote.

“It’s a safety thing for me,” said board member Mike Levesque, who cast the one dissenting vote, referring to what he said is a steeply graded driveway proposed for the property, exiting onto Seal Cove Road.

The planned Green Island Way subdivision will include three new, ecologically-constructed homes and one existing house that is currently being remodeled, according to the application submitted by David Wade.

Aspects of the ecological construction include radiant floor heating, passive solar design and increased insulation, according to Wade. He is expecting to sell the lots for under $300,000.

In the plans presented to the board, the subdivision is listed as five lots. One, Wade said, was kept by the previous owner of the property.

While there is public water and sewer access to the property, Wade will be working to bring the lines closer to the proposed structures. He has designed a plan for one 1,100 square foot home to put in the subdivision but is leaving the design of the other homes up to those who purchase them.

“It might be a year before I start building something” in the subdivision, he said.

The property, which measures just under two acres, currently has one structure and is mostly covered with trees. There are two entrances to the lot, one from Seal Cove Road and the other from Freeman Ridge Road.

There was debate among Planning Board members whether the access from Seal Cove Road was a right of way, driveway or road into the development. Roads serve three or more dwellings and driveways serve two or fewer dwellings.

“I have some serious reservations with the pitch of that road,” Levesque said at the meeting. “A private road, right of way needs to be 10 percent grade … I don’t know if you can modify your plan to use your Freeman Ridge access to provide a safer situation for the town folk, but that’s what I’d like to see. It’s steep.”

Wade’s plans specified the entrance onto Seal Cove Road was to be used as a driveway and would not be serving all of the units within the subdivision.

“I was thinking of putting some parking at the bottom of the driveway so people can park at the bottom of the hill and walk up when it’s icy,” Wade told the board.

Drainage from that same entrance was a concern expressed by neighbors. One neighbor described the property as a “donut hole,” because there are developed properties on every side, and wanted to know where water would drain from it.

“I spent quite a bit of money on the stormwater management plan,” Wade said. “We will gutter the houses and put the water from the houses into containment ponds.”

“If you did nothing, you would have a whole bunch of runoff flying off the site, just like 90 percent of properties do,” said engineer Greg Johnston, who put together the stormwater management plan for the development. “It’s not sheeting out there directly. He has to install two catch basins at the base of that driveway.”

Johnston added that the stormwater management plan includes a maintenance program. “We need to clean leaves out of this thing,” he said. “If the inlet plugs, it will spill into his own back yard. If infiltration is working, then nothing is released.”

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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