Westbrook, ME

The housing section looks pretty pathetic, but "whatchagonnado"? I'd almost wish they'd scrap the housing to do the project right and then build higher housing when things are better. No reason there can't be an 8-10 story housing building in that location.
I'm not totally opposed to the housing being beside rather than on top of the garage, I think that could actually be an improvement if designed right....But reducing the number of housing units is really unfortunate. As DanielPWM said, the residential "tower" should be at least as tall as the the Greenhouse (Roughly 7-8 stories of residential)

There's huge demand for housing, and this project has the potential to put a lot of it right in the middle of a walkable, transit-accessible downtown. Such a prominent location deserves more than a cheaply built 4-5 story apartment block.

A very rough idea of what the massing of an 8-story residential tower would look like next to the garage.

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It seems that CHOM has a track record of proposing nice big buildings to Planning Boards in the area. They get approved, then all of a sudden costs have gone up. So they go back to the board complaining about rising costs and come back with a smaller ugly design. For example the 55 plus building on Franklin. First proposed at 7, now its at a lower height with ugly materials.
Does anyone know more about the new Avesta / mixed-use project just off of Main St. Based on the description from the upcoming workshop, it seems like a fairly sizeable project (192 units)


Does anyone know more about the new Avesta / mixed-use project just off of Main St. Based on the description from the upcoming workshop, it seems like a fairly sizeable project (192 units)

It was originally brought before the planning board during workshop at the 1/5/2021 meeting to include the project in the village review overlay zone, which allows for more height.
Agenda: http://www.westbrookmaine.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_01052021-652
Recording (starts around 59 minutes mark): https://westbrooktv.viebit.com/player.php?hash=W8656Wd9WZNE

It was subsequently up as new business at the following meeting.
Agenda: http://www.westbrookmaine.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_02022021-657
Recording (starts around the 23 minute mark): https://westbrooktv.viebit.com/player.php?hash=sGAMpsqtRXvs

At some point after the parcel was rezoned, the developers of three lots at 35 Seavey Street abandoned their previously approved subdivision plan (approved in 2020, given a one-year extension in 2021) and sold the lots to the current developers.

The city then added the three lots at 35 Seavey into the village review overly zone.
Agenda: http://www.westbrookmaine.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_03012022-753
Recording (starts around 1 hour 42 minutes): https://westbrooktv.viebit.com/player.php?hash=UxmjGUwPjci3

At the next meeting, they dissolved a previously approved adjacent subdivision and project at 35 Seavey Street to roll it into the larger property.
Agenda: http://www.westbrookmaine.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_04052022-759
Recording (starts at about the 8 minute mark and the 2nd part at around the 14 minute mark): https://westbrooktv.viebit.com/player.php?hash=lzmxkRPrI3Hz

At one point there were very rough sketch plans on what they wanted to do, but this was before they added the additional property along Seavey Street. It included several options that were a mix of 3-to-5 story buildings. I can't find those sketches, but they might be presented in one of those recordings.
I finally got a chance to watch the recording of the July 5th Planning board meeting. Here are some screen grabs from the workshop presentation on the above mentioned development in between Seavey Street and the Stockhouse Restaurant. It will be three five story buildings and one four story building, with almost 200 total units of affordable, workforce, and market rate housing.

Note that most images were presented with the southern side of the property to the left instead of the bottom.





The neighbors will have no reason to balk. They're mostly renters anyway. This is a great location for some urban density in Westbrook. Just tucked away enough that it feels cozy/nice - but right off the beaten path for bus lines, commuters, and so on. Looks like they're adding a new entryway too from Main Street. Hopefully this doesn't cause any traffic backup (if there's enough of a shoulder) for those idiotic people who need to make a complete stop before taking a right turn.
Also, no offense to some of the businesses here. But I'd love to see this area redeveloped too.


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Another shot of the Vertical Harvest in Westbrook. You can see the steel poking above the buildings/trees when driving down Main Street as you start to head down the hill after the Spring Street intersection.


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In last week's PPH article, it reports that this business is going to "employ nearly four dozen workers with intellectual disabilities." Why would this business "brag" about that? Hopefully, any machinery necessary for this kind of business will be "idiot proof." And what exactly does that mean, someone with an intellectual disability? Is it a euphemism for Down Syndrome? Dyslexia? Political extremism? Or, simply, the worker I.Q.'s are lower than the average of 100? This inquiring mind wants to know.

It's how they operate their first operation in Jackson hole, WY. This operation requires very little machinery.

Watch the video: https://verticalharvestfarms.com/locations/jackson/virtual-tour/

Intellectual disability is a very real thing and crosses a broad spectrum of developmental impairments that hamper mental ability, including things like Down Syndrome, Autism, ADHD, Anxiety, etc.:

People with intellectual disabilities typically struggle to maintain employment. Many end up homeless.

Honestly, I think it is incredibly noble of Vertical Harvest to do such a thing.
A couple more Vertical Harvest steel photos from this morning, and then two bonus pics of recent redevelopments near the park (one still under construction and one completed...watch out for those powerlines):

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What a beautiful web in that first pic of the redevelopments. I love the vertical distribution of the lines - and extra bonus points for the use of multiple poles per location.
What a beautiful web in that first pic of the redevelopments. I love the vertical distribution of the lines - and extra bonus points for the use of multiple poles per location.

It's quite the juxtaposition, right? 🤣
A few more shots of the Vertical Harvest development from yesterday. The steel went up quickly, but progress has been seemingly slow lately. Still lots of foundation work happening for the parking garage component. I'm guessing the parking garage will go up quickly, since it's going to be pre-fab.




From last night's Planning Board meeting, an update to the project proposed 204-unit residential project at 984 Spring Street. Very much a suburban development, but given the location, it fits. The only real concern I have is the proximity to the headwaters of Long Creek and the sheer amount of pavement shown here.

I expect to see more of this style of development on the other side of the city border on the old Sable Oaks land.

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