Development considered for Sagamore Farm property

By Susan Mustapich | Oct 03, 2019
Photo by: Susan Mustapich The town is considering developing the Sagamore Farm property with 20 single-family homes, an office building, or both a building and homes.

CAMDEN — A traffic study commissioned by the town of Camden shows no changes to Route 1 would be needed if the town-owned Sagamore Farm property were developed with single-family homes, a commercial office building, or a combination of an office building and homes.

A traffic study completed in August looked at three development options: 20 single-family homes; a 20,000-square-foot commercial office building, and a combination of a commercial building and 10 single-family homes.

Development of the 77-acre, town-owned property has been discussed by various select boards for more than 15 years.

It is the largest vacant developable parcel, according to a 2011 economic action plan prepared by a University of Maine economist.

In 2013, Select Board members downplayed the idea of turning the property into a town park, as was proposed by the Camden Conservation Commission and those who use trails there.

The property is also home to a town-owned solar installation on about a half-acre on the north side, which is not visible from Route 1. The Energy Committee championed the solar installation, approved by voters in 2017.

At the end of August, Town Manager Audra Caler-Bell announced that efforts had begun to figure out what to do with the property. She argued that the Comprehensive Plan clearly envisions development on the site. She added that the plan is to find a use compatible with the recreation that occurs on the site.

The Energy Committee has continued discussions about potentially expanding solar there.

Planning and Development Director Jeremy Martin has been assigned to generate options for development for numerous town-owned properties, including Sagamore Farm.

"There are a myriad of options" for the properties, Select Board Chairman Bob Falciani said, and for Sagamore Farm, these range from solar to housing to doing nothing. Board members cannot be experts on everything the town does, he said. Martin's job includes doing "a lot of homework" and "dealing with hurdles."

One of the hurdles for developing Sagamore, which is entered from Route 1, involves Maine Department of Transportation regulations. The traffic study shows that for a housing or commercial development of limited size, no changes will be required to Route 1.

Traffic study for development options

Traffic Solutions of Gorham assessed traffic conditions on Route 1 near the Sagamore property in August, including the number of cars passing through during peak hours in the summer and crash data. It also projected traffic increases for each of the three proposed development options.

A traffic movement study conducted April 23 showed a total of 558 vehicles traveling on Route 1 near Camden Hills State Park between 3 and 5:30 p.m. The study was adjusted to reflect seasonal traffic during July and August to a total of 670 vehicles.

The study projects traffic increases on Route 1 for the three developments. Trip increases for the 20 single-family home development total 15 additional trips in the morning and 20 additional trips during the evening.

For the commercial office building, an additional 31 trips during morning and 30 during the evening are estimated.

The combination of a commercial building with 10 single-family homes would generate an estimated increase of 39 trips during morning and 40 in the evening.

No left-turn lane is needed for northbound traffic entering the proposed developments, according to the study.

One proposed entrance to a residential, commercial or mixed development on the property is the existing Sagamore Farm Road. The other proposed entrance is the existing driveway to the Laite property. A DOT driveway entrance permit is required for access to the property from either entrance.

The number of crashes in the area is relatively low, according to DOT crash data.

What is now a private road could become an entrance to the town-owned Sagamore Farm property, if it is developed with single-family homes, a commercial office building, or a combination of the two. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Comments (2)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Oct 05, 2019 16:45

That's what makes America great. People can choose how and where to live. Nothing sad about it at all.



Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Oct 04, 2019 13:17

Sadly, progress and traffic. A small sleepy village will soon become a metropolis.



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