Planning Board approves minor subdivision on Elm Street

By Stephanie Grinnell | Mar 22, 2014
Source: Vision Appraisal A property owned by First Congregational Church will be subdivided and a new housing unit built there following Planning Board approval.

Camden — Coastal Opportunities was granted Planning Board approval to construct a new four-unit dwelling at 61 Elm St.

The new unit will replace an existing group housing structure — a Community Living Arrangement, or CLA — at 59 Elm St., which residents will continue to reside in until the new space is complete.

Coastal Opportunities Executive Director Joe Curll, architect Chris Glass and Bill Lane of Gartley and Dorsky Engineering and Surveying presented initial plans during a pre-application meeting Feb. 20.

The property is currently owned by First Congregational Church, but the minor subdivision would be created by conveying a 12,000-square-foot parcel to Coastal Opportunities, according to meeting minutes. The existing CLA building was established in 1983 by Coastal Opportunities and houses three men and an on-site supervisor. Four parking spaces will be reserved for residents, though most do not have vehicles and walk anywhere they need to go, and the church will be granted an easement for parking behind the new structure.

Feb. 20, Ron Hawkins spoke to the Planning Board on behalf of abutting neighbor Denise Pukas. He said setbacks of the Pukas house were not followed and it sits just 5-feet from the property line with the church. Hawkins also cited concerns with the design of the new structure as it will have four entry doors as opposed to the existing one entry door now. He said he was unsure of the final design plan.

Head Trustee of First Congregational Church Lila Vultee said both Hawkins and Pukas have been involved in the planning process from the beginning.

"They have been kept informed and they recently saw a copy of this plan when it was formally presented to the congregation," Vultee is quoted as saying in meeting minutes.

She said the church has made several efforts to address neighbors' concerns.

Planning Board members conducted at site walk of the property Feb. 26. While the option for a public hearing was available March 20, no members of the public indicated an interest in speaking about the subdivision.

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