2014-11-14 / Community

Developers, community take second look at Summit Terrace

By Jason Glynn
Contributing Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND – Progress was made when the community and developers convened at Small School on Wednesday, Nov. 5 to discuss a 6.5-acre lot at the end of Summit Terrace Road. The vacant parcel is owned by Quireno Lucarelli and he has engaged Portland-based developer Hardypond Development, Portland-based architecture Kaplan & Thompson, and South Portlandbased civil engineer FST. This was the second meeting held with community members to discuss development options, and served to clear the air of uncertainty while bringing all parties on the same page.

After the last meeting ended on Oct. 16 with confusion and uncertainty, the parties involved sought to be much clearer and informative this time around, said Hardypond’s director of business development, Frank Carr. Another big difference was that community members and Hardypond collaborated on the meeting’s agenda.

The meeting opened with Carr asking Everett Avenue resident Marty Zanghi to introduce the agenda and update attendees on developments behind the scenes. Zanghi said a group of community members organized all of the sticky notes that contained hopes, dreams,and fears from the previous meeting, and planned to get everyone into groups to discuss them.

“We thought we’d invite Tex Haeuser [South Portland’s planning director] to give us a baseline understanding of what can or can’t be done with the property,” Zanghi said.

Haeuser said his office typically doesn’t get involved before anything has been signed between the city and developers, but said he was invited to give a history of the property and information about what can be done with it under current zoning.

Haeuser said the property is split between a 4.3 acre residential zone A, which is a single-family, quarter-acre minimum lot size with a possibility of up to 17 units, and a 2.1 acre residential zone G which is multifamily, with 10 units per acre, for a possibility of 20 units. He added that this was before any net residential acreage deductions, which are deductions made for wetlands, slopes or roads.

Haeuser highlighted different development options under the current zoning, which were visualized with hypothetical examples. The different layout options included singlefamily detached homes and alternative layouts of clustered townhouses.

Haeuser said in 2003, Lucarelli applied for a zoning change for the parcel and it was rezoned as conditional residential G4. This allowed for more units (56) and more height (four stories). Lucarelli never ended up developing the land, so in 2006 it reverted back to the split zone. Conditional rezoning allows the city to impose conditions to the proposed site plan. One of the conditions imposed on Lucarelli’s 2003 plan included a public walking trail on the property.

Pre-development meetings held in public are unusual in South Portland, Carr said.

Claude Morgan, councilor-elect for South Portland’s District 1, asked about the project’s timeline.

“Is it two years, probably not, we don’t have a definite timeline, but we’d like something tangible in 2015,” Carr said.

“Do you have any sort of performance conditions that are owed to Mr. Lucarelli in this process … can Mr. Lucarelli veto all of the work we’re doing here?” Morgan asked.

“He does have an economic interest in this property … it has to be profitable … what results out of this we don’t know, but the interests have to be aligned in all parties,” Carr said.

“We want to start drawings, we want to get that process going … to make the long story short, we want to continue the conversation into planning. Honestly we don’t feel like we’re going to meet everyone’s needs, but we want to be fair to you, and not surprise you,” Carr added.

Casco Bay High School teacher Susan McCray asked Carr what his company’s vision and values were on development and sustainability. Carr said he wanted all partners to answer that and quoted a 1987 UN report about development: “Plan for today, but don’t obviate the future … I strive to extend the life of a building. I like seeing things last.”

“I live in a neighborhood that’s not that different than here, so I know what you are going through … our company’s motto is ‘Beautiful, sustainable, and attainable,’ and that’s what we’re going to strive for. It’s not great projects that we love, it’s working with great people on projects, that’s what we love,” said Jesse Thompson of Kaplan Thompson Architects.

The next meeting is tentatively planned for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18 at Small School, 130 Thompson St., South Portland.

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