September 27, 2020

Planners to address retail subdivision, apartment buildings

ELLSWORTH – The city’s planning board will hold public hearings Wednesday on two agenda items that both have been watched closely, but for very different reasons.

First, residents will get a chance to weigh in on an application from a Massachusetts development company that wants to bring a large-scale shopping subdivision to the Myrick triangle district.

W/S Development Associates of Chestnut Hill, Mass., has plans for nearly 500,000 square feet of new retail space, including a 200,000-square foot anchor store that many believe will be a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Aside from the anchor store, W/S wants to build 14 additional buildings between the triangle of Route 3 and Route 1. Those buildings will house 25 additional stores, ranging from smaller retail locations to restaurants, according to W/S’s application. None of the prospective tenants has been identified.

The developer’s plans have plodded along despite some concerns. At last month’s planning board meeting, members worried about the increase in traffic Ellsworth will likely see and whether or not the developer planned adequately for access to the proposed shopping center.

Members of the public, including those from a citizens groups called WISE Planning for Ellsworth, are likely to bring up additional concerns on Wednesday.

The second item on the planning board agenda that has raised some controversy involves a Lamoine couple’s plans to build two apartment buildings on property they own in a residential neighborhood in Ellsworth.

Anthony and Elizabeth Belch own a house off Main Street between Spencer and Carlisle streets and near Maine Coast Memorial Hospital that has been converted into a three-unit apartment building.

Now, the couple wants to add eight more units in two buildings on the same 1.4-acre property. Some residents in the area feel the couple is changing the fabric of the neighborhood, one that has long been a single-family residential area.

A group of 13 of those residents already has filed an appeal with the city to overturn the planning board’s decision regarding the first apartment subdivision. The same group also has filed a civil lawsuit in Hancock County Superior Court.

Wednesday’s planning board meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers at City Hall.

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