The Kittery Town Council struck down a proposal to build a multi-use complex in town that would have included about 900 units of housing following a citizens’ petition that was delivered to the board.
The council voted unanimously Wednesday to support the petition, which urged the town to roll back zoning changes to the area north of the Maine Turnpike that would have permitted developers to build the complex referred to in proposal documents as Dennett Landing. The plan included a medical office building, laboratory, brewery and small retail space, along with 900 units of assorted housing.
The project’s developer, New Hampshire-based Hoyle, Tanner and Associates, could not be reached for comment Friday. The housing, according to the proposal, includes studio and multi-family apartments and townhouses, but does not specify what if any housing was to be designated as affordable.
Speakers at the public hearing stated their case and written letters were submitted for the record. Resident Tabatha Frawkins wrote she was concerned that portions of the housing in the proposed project would be market-rate.
“We absolutely need more housing in Kittery and I am happy to have it in this location (I live right up the road) but only if it is majority affordable housing. We do not need to increase our capacity for people working from home out of Boston. We need to increase our capacity for our citizens who are already a part of our community and are being forced into homelessness,” Frawkins said in her letter.
Other residents voiced concerns about the proposal’s impact on the surrounding environment and the potential increased demand for municipal services.
“The developers will be the beneficiaries, not current Kittery residents and most certainly not the environment,” resident Caroline Hall wrote.
The council also voted to institute a six-month moratorium, starting Aug. 12, on developing the area in question. In discussions, the council and planning board noted that the previous industrial zoning, which Wednesday’s decision put back in place, had attracted development projects that local residents also didn’t like.
“(A moratorium) would give the town council, (and) the planning board time to work with residents to figure out exactly what we want to do with that piece of property,” Town Council Chairperson Judy Spiller said.