DEP not okay with zone changes

By Lisa Williams Ackley

Staff Writer

Bridgton Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz announced Tuesday night that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection “has indicated they will not approve reductions in minimum lot size requirements in the General Development I District” adopted by voters here last month.

The two general development districts were added to both the Bridgton Shoreland Zoning Ordinance and the Site Plan Review Ordinance, in order to allow expanded development in the downtown area.

The Maine DEP must approve all changes to a municipality’s ordinances that deal with shoreland zoning and/or that pertain to residential and commercial development that affects the environment.

Berkowitz and former Economic and Community Development Director Alan Manoian had both said the zoning changes would allow AVESTA Housing to construct a $4 million, 21-unit senior housing development at the former Chapter 11 site on Main Street, however, no formal application has been submitted by AVESTA, at this point in time.

Berkowitz said the DEP officials also wanted him to “submit additional information by January 13th to support our request to change the minimum lot size in the General Development II District to 5,000 square feet and the density for bedroom units to 1,000 square feet.”

The town manager told selectmen Jan. 10 that the additional requested information had already been submitted to the DEP.

Berkowitz told selectmen here Tuesday night that he had recently met with a DEP representative who informed him “of the Department’s concerns.”

Prior to the Dec. 13, 2011 vote in which townspeople adopted the ordinance changes, Manoian had said the DEP had “been stressing they want to see a two-tier approach and phase in gradually.”

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