ROCKLAND — The Rockland Planning Board unanimously approved Tuesday evening, Nov. 1 a project that will create nine affordable apartments on the upper floors of a downtown business block.

Developer Caleb Lincoln appeared before the Rockland Planning Board and received approval. The project is expected to take 18 months to complete following purchase of the property.

Rockland Main Street Inc. Executive Director David Gogel was the only person to speak during the Nov. 1 formal public hearing. Gogel praised the project.

“This is exactly the type of project we want in Rockland, affordable workforce housing within walking distance of downtown,” Gogel said.

The Rockland Main Street executive director pointed out a recent survey of downtown businesses found that 88 percent say there is a need for affordable workforce housing, 71 percent said they are having difficult hiring and retaining employees because of the lack of housing, and 80 percent say that lack of housing is having a negative impact on the community.

The project at 404-408 Main St. has been selected by the Maine State Housing Authority for potential funding under the affordable rental program. If approved, the rents would be no more than 30 percent of the income of tenants. Eligible tenants would be people who earn no more than 80 percent of the region’s median income — which equals to about $46,000 annually.

There will be six one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments. The units will have heat pumps with supplemental electric baseboard heat. There will be on-demand hot water.

The developer is Lincoln under the company name Lake City Investment LLC.

The developer has a purchase and sales agreement to buy 404-408 Main St., where Loyal Biscuit and Huston-Tuttle are located on the street level. The proposal is that he would then rent that street level space back to the retailers. The property is currently owned by Fennylicious LLC which is owned by Heidi and Joel Neal.

The closing of the sale is expected by May 21, 2023.

Lincoln also operates Botany at 409 Main St.

In other action, the Planning Board reviewed Nov. 1 the proposal by Maine State Credit Union to convert the former Tim Hortons at 168 Camden St. for its use as a full-service branch. The Board will tour the property at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15. A final vote may occur at the Board meeting set for 5:15 p.m. that day.

The building had been the location for Tim Hortons, which operated there until closing in December 2013.

The 3,200-square-foot building was built in 2006. Maine State Credit Union bought the nearly one-acre property in June 2022 from GL Investment LLC of Newport for $700,000.

The Rockland Planning Board met Tuesday evening, Nov. 1.