Bridgton lets Sweden take lead in Patriot Way review

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

The planning boards of Bridgton and Sweden, each with their procedures and rules for subdivisions, have been proceeding carefully in consideration of a 14-lot subdivision plan off Knights Hill Road.

So carefully, in fact, that engineer George Sawyer has asked for more time to submit a preliminary plan on behalf of the developer, Lance Colwell. On Tuesday, the Bridgton Planning Board agreed to Sawyer’s request to table the project until December of this year.

As Colwell’s agent, Sawyer has the daunting task of meeting each town’s requirements, as well as their subdivision standards. What may constitute a complete application for a preliminary review in Bridgton, may, or may not suffice in the town of Sweden, where a more rigorous review process has traditionally applied to subdivisions.

It is only the proposed access road of the 76-acre subdivision that is located in Sweden. All of the lots, ranging in size from four to seven acres, are located in Bridgton, but the land is only accessible from the Sweden end, via a right-of-way that the Sweden officials consider is only a driveway. Sweden Planning Board members have indicated the access way would need to be brought up to its town’s standards, yet there are no plans to do so.

Both boards conducted a site walk following their initial joint meeting on the project in August. Following the site walk, Sweden Planning Board Chairman David Johnson outlined the next steps that Sawyer needs to take in their subdivision review process, in order for them to consider whether a complete preliminary application has been submitted.

Bridgton is allowing Sweden to take the lead on the matter, and has not issued a similar letter to Sawyer.

Johnson said a preliminary plan must be submitted within six months of the site walk and, “We would therefore expect a complete Preliminary Plan Application on or before Feb. 22, 2014.”

Sawyer asked for more time from the Oct. 1 meeting when he saw the rest of Johnson’s letter, requiring that he, once again, notify abutters, even though he had done so for the meeting held in August, which Bridgton had considered to be a review of a preliminary plan.

Johnson said Sawyer must submit a location map, delineating wetlands, habitats and zoning districts, among other items. The submitted preliminary plan, Johnson wrote, must include 22 separate items, including deed information, contour lines, culvert locations, drainage systems, hydrogeologic assessment prepared by a certified geologist, soil survey and other items. Bridgton requires much of the same, but not in the same degree of detail.

After all information is submitted, Johnson wrote that Sweden’s board will then have 30 days to decide whether the application is complete.

On Tuesday, Bridgton Planning Board Chairman Steve Collins noted that Sweden has requested corrections to its minutes involving several persons who had been misidentified. Collins met with Johnson following the site walk to discuss future procedure, and he said Tuesday that nothing substantive was discussed that would have required the presence of the rest of the board.

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