2015-01-09 / Community

Developers continue to meet with neighborhood

By Jason Glynn
Contributing Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND – More progress was made when the community and developers reconvened to discuss a vacant 6.5-acre plot at the end of Summit Terrace Road. The land includes a former pig farm and lies just beyond the existing Summit Terrace Apartments.

Frank Carr, director of business development for Hardypond Construction, offered to bring renditions of three possible layout scenarios to the next meeting. Jesse Thompson, a partner at Kaplan Thompson Architects, said he will prepare the renditions so residents could better visualize a single-unit per lot townhouse-style, a clustered townhouse version, or a larger single-building style as envisioned by Bob Gardreau, Hardypond president.

The vacant parcel is owned by Quireno Lucarelli, who hired Portland-based developer Hardypond Construction, Portland-based architectural firm Kaplan Thompson Architects, and South Portland-based civil engineer Fay, Spofford & Thorndike to complete the project. This was the third meeting held with community members to discuss development options.

Down from the previous turnouts of 80 attendees, there was approximately 20 community members on hand. The goal of the meeting was to address the original concerns and/or ideas that came up in the first meeting, Carr said. However, Carr was concerned about the smaller crowd.

“I’m not sure this smaller group is a good representation of the earlier group that brought up these concerns,” he said.

Concerns ranged from blasting to design and traffic. Jeff Gorodensky, manager from Summit Terrace Apartments, was there to express his concerns about traffic.

“We have 200 people living with us, we have students, elderly and children living there … we have a real concern that everybody should share. These roads are all of our roads, we should share the added burden,” he said.

In response, a possible secondary access road to Sawyer Road was discussed.

“We understand your concern and we want to work with you on this, we may add a second egress road,” Gardreau said.

However, Tex Haeuser, planning and development director for the city, said that a secondary access road was not required.

For the first time in this series of meetings, Hardypond detailed their vision of the property. Gardreau said he envisioned a larger single building opposed to multiple townhouse-style units.

“At six stories I’m at tree height and I also have a great view of downtown Portland, that is where money is to be made in real estate and someone will pay me for that view,” Gardreau said.

“However, this is only my vision and I want to work with the community to find something we all like,” he added.

Gardreau said he wanted the building closer to the westerly property line, looking down Summit Terrace Drive. Gardreau also said he wanted to see a second egress come out by the existing cellphone tower. The proposed 60-foot building would have a concrete first floor with underground parking.

The surrounding grounds would be open, with a pond in the middle and a walking path around the perimeter, Gardreau added.

Some neighbors questioned the development in the first place, while others contended that development meant the former piggery would be cleaned up. The piggery has been closed for years, but it has become a hangout spot for teenagers over the years, according to neighbors.

“My property abuts the piggery … when we go back there there’s a lot of broken glass… it’s not safe. Sensitive development would address that in part,” said resident Jessica Skwire Routhier.

Some neighbors wanted the lot left vacant and discussed ideas about how to purchase the parcel; however, the discussion quickly moved back to development.

After numerous environmental concerns were brought up, including a stream on the property, Steve Bushey, senior engineer from Fay, Spofford & Thorndike, offered to bring results from environmental studies to allay fears about potential wetlands and watersheds on the property.

The next meeting is slated to be held in mid-January or early February, but no date has been chosen yet.

Return to top