Solving the housing shortage throughout Maine has been a significant focus for developers, and the lack of quality, desirable housing, especially for snowbirds (seniors who winter in the south), has been at the top of the priority list. Hancock county is no exception to this issue. Seeing a need in the community, SFS Development LLC, including Randy Sinclair of Sinclair Development Corp. and Steve Fernald of Statewide Property Management, reached out to our team to begin the initial steps of an exciting new project.
The developers already know from market analysis that the greater Ellsworth Area is short many hundreds of housing units. One of the issues is finding an ideal location to construct a large development on a site that does not impact too many protected resources.
Herrick & Salsbury, Inc. have been busy preparing and surveying for a major housing development aimed at the retirement community. Located in Hancock, 85 acres of undeveloped land on Route 1 will soon be home to 120 new housing units!
The overall vision for the property is geared to tenants that may spend their winters in warmer climates and come home to Maine when warmer weather appears. However, this development might appeal to permanent seniors as well. The 55 and older community will feature lawn maintenance, snow removal, driveways, roads, and common areas like a large community building.
The Beginning Process
One of the first steps in considering a project like this is gathering all the publicly available information on the property. This includes:
- Property deed
- Survey plans
- Highway plans
- Soils mapping from US Department of Agriculture
- Wetlands mapping from US Fish and Wildlife Service
- Topographical mapping (various public sources)
- Wildlife habitat mapping (Maine Fish and Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife)
- Aquifer maps (Maine Geological Survey)
- Drinking water supply data (Maine Geological Survey)
- Zoning information (town/city)
- Hazardous site locations nearby (Maine Department of Environmental Protection)
- Aerial photographs (various public sources)
All this data is combined in a comprehensive database, mostly in the form of drawings so that protected resources are highlighted and the developable areas are delineated in an easy-to-see format. Then a conceptual plan can be prepared and some early construction cost estimates can be developed to help evaluate the economic viability of the project. If from the conceptual plan the project looks viable, then more detailed studies are conducted.
The 85 acres of undeveloped land has posed its share of exciting challenges in the world of surveying. The work that goes into a project of this magnitude involves multiple levels of research and requires expertise in land planning and development.
The project has applied for permits from the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) to begin construction of the site’s entrance (construction starting this summer).
Currently, we are mapping out adjacent wetlands and other protected natural resources.
These are all required for permitting through the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). This type of mitigated conservation is designed to set aside areas of land that include wetlands, wildlife habitats, or areas where stormwater is impacted. This type of consulting is a big part of what we do. Working alongside the DEP to preserve these precious lands is something we work hard to achieve. The next step in the process is making an application to and working with the Town of Hancock for approval from the local planning board before construction begins.
We love being involved in projects that positively impact the community and provide economic growth in our local area. We can’t wait to share updates on this project and give details of other new and exciting projects in the works! For more information on the senior housing development, check out the full story here.