Brandy Crossing subdivision gains preliminary approval

A SITE WALK with developer Paul Hollis (in blue windbreaker) took place at the future location of the Brandy Crossing Subdivision. The Naples Planning Board gave preliminary approval for the subdivision. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Ashley Hanlon said her grandmother purchased a home that was originally deeded with a golf course that was only seasonal.

The blueprints for the Brandy Crossing Subdivision call for a pathway that goes right past the Hanlon home to a dock that will moor up to six boats. She expressed concerns that large groups of people will have reason to pass close to the once-secluded home on their way to the dock. Hanlon questioned how the statute could allow multiple slips on one dock when there was not enough beach frontage. She asked the developer to consider putting all the slips on one dock that is further away from their property, thus eliminating the second pathway.

Hanlon claimed that the residential properties next to the former golf course could lose up to 50 percent of their value when the former golf course disappears to make room for 17 new single-family homes.

Several other abutters also expressed concerns that their homes will be devalued.

The existence of a golf course — sprawling green space that has only seasonal use — is no longer an assurance for these homeowners. Other worries include but are not limited to increased traffic on Fairway Lane with only one entrance and exit, and no longer having vehicular access to the beach for dock maintenance and springtime cleanup.

The abutters to the proposed Brandy Crossing Subdivision participated in a site walk and later sat in the audience during the Naples Planning Board meeting.

Their expressions were grim as the board did a check list of the site plan review. A few closed their eyes. One slumped in his chair, powerless to alter the outcome.

On Tuesday night, the planning board granted a preliminary approval of the Brandy Crossing Subdivision that is being developed by Paul Hollis, who owns Great Lots of Maine.

The preliminary approval was granted with a few conditions. Exact plans for the footpath to the docks and other Shoreland Zoning Ordinance issues such as tree removal and the installation of any pavement near the shoreline must be first approved by Naples Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) Renee Carter. A second condition is that the storm water runoff plan and the phosphorous budget must get a nod from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Through communication to Carter, Naples Fire Chief Chris Pond had requested that two hydrants be placed in the subdivision; and if that was not feasible, all homes would require a sprinkler system with a 300-gallon cistern in the basement.

With this preliminary approval, Hollis can move forward with securing a bond so that he can break ground.

During the site walk, he said the best use for the land is single-family homes. Hollis has done his best to meet with individual abutters, and compromise his plans to meet their concerns. For example, he offered to plant pine trees in the state’s right-of-way to block headlights from illuminating the home of a woman who lives across Route 114. That home is not part of the neighborhood but is directly impacted by Fairway Lane traffic.

“We think it’s going to a great subdivision. It will bring in revenue to the town,” Hollis said.

The homes are estimated to be priced at $700,000, and will have access to a dock slip. Sixteen houses will be built on 36.4 acres. Another lot will be developed from the 11 acres that are being retained by landowner Dick Dyke. Meanwhile, Dyke is renovating the former clubhouse, saying he wants more privacy than he has in his home on the Naples Causeway.

Another abutter named Bruce, who purchased his retirement home on the south side of the property, questioned whether the privacy he had sought would be a reality. His lot is near the emergency exit.

“Currently, our property there is devalued. Putting the road there makes it more devalued. I don’t want the road there at all,” Bruce said. “Also, Paul mentioned about adding trees. If trees could be added to our property line so that we could have privacy from road traffic.”

The road for the future subdivision was discussed at length. The planning board voted that the road will be 18 feet wide; although many property owners favored a 20-foot wide road. It will be paved. Also, the covenants will keep it a private road rather than a public easement plowed at the town’s expense.

Some abutters wanted two entrances onto Route 114. However, the town’s ordinance states that any developer with 15 lots or more must have only one entrance to prevent thoroughfare traffic.

“There is a balancing act. The people don’t want more vehicles down there,” Hollis said.

Resident Sherman Lahaie pushed for a loop-around roadway to alleviate traffic on one side of the subdivision.

“I feel the burden on one entrance and exit is too great,” said Pat Barr, who lives on 10 Fairway Drive.

However, the board considered the emergency exit to be the second entrance. Additionally, the board honored the ordinance created to keep nonlocal traffic from driving through the private subdivision.

According to Hollis, none of the individual homeowners will have rights to the shoreline. Instead, the docks will be a common area as well as some acreage that will be left was open meadow. During the site walk, some people reacted with surprise when Hollis said that no swimming area had been planned as of yet.

The docks are zoned commercial — that deed was passed from the golf course. Therefore, aquatic structures with multiple slips are allowed.

According to Chairman John Thompson, “The homes are residential. The docks are not residential.”

CEO Carter said the beach area was already zoned as commercial.

This was the answer to Hanlon’s question about the legality of multiple boat slips. Hanlon also brought up concerns regarding people renting out their homes in the subdivisions as Airbnb’s during the summertime.

“Mr. Hollis is trying to work with us. He is not going to be able to control kids, teenagers, people coming down the path. It is private residence. We put in all the trees but that won’t buffer all the noise,” Hanlon said. “It is going to completely devalue the property, a home that was meant to be in the family for generations.”

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