NG Planning Board Orders Public Hearing for Sabbathday Shores Application, Approves New Residence in Historic District

At their March 5 meeting, the planning board considered a request by Sabbathday Shores developer Allen Hamilton to change a portion of its approved subdivision plan from “passive recreation” to “active recreation” use.  Town planner Scott Hastings explained that the applicant intends to seek permission to install a dock on Sabbathday Lake, and the change in permitted use from passive to active recreation is a necessary first step.  The board ordered a public hearing on the request, now scheduled for April 2 at 7 p.m.  In other business, the board gave final approval to revised plans by Julie and Michael Fralich for a new residence with possible short-term rental in the Village historic overlay district.

Word of the Sabbathday Shores application had prompted multiple written communications from concerned citizens, including requests for a public hearing, according to board chair Don Libby.  Although the board deferred taking any official action beyond ordering the public hearing, they informally shared their initial thoughts for the benefit of the applicant, developer Allen Hamilton, who was present.  Their comments concerned the potential impact of a change from passive to active use, the size and type of dock, the path to it, and off-season storage, among other matters.  Hamilton said that he has in mind an aluminum dock and “one boat per lot” for the seven-lot subdivision.  The board urged him to look into state and Sabbathday Lake Association guidelines for docks before the public hearing.

In other business, the board gave final approval to Julie and Michael Fralichs’ application for a new single-family residence on Gloucester Hill Road.  In what board member Charlie Burnham called an unusually pleasant public hearing, abutters spoke in support of the project.  Erik Hargreaves, who will share a boundary, drew laughs when he said that the Fralichs’ proposed tree plantings would be “really nice,” given his own “complete lack of any landscaping whatsoever.”  Pastor Linda Gard, representing the First Congregational Church situated across from the building site, conveyed a “’sense of the church’ sentiment”: the unanimous vote in support by the members at the congregation’s annual meeting. 

Because the Fralichs’ plans include possible use of the house for short-term rentals, the board considered certain commercial buffer and driveway-siting requirements.  The board clarified that any change in the nature of the commercial use in the future would require planning board review, a concern raised by the Historical Society, and determined that the revised plans met the standards of the historic overlay district.  Final approval was given with conditions requiring maintenance of a vegetative buffer along the north side of the property and use of best practices for erosion control.

Before adjournment, town planner Scott Hastings noted that the New Gloucester Land Management Planning Committee would be discussing standards for solar projects at a workshop on March 27th at 6:30 p.m.  Don Libby, who serves on LMPC as well as the planning board, noted the early start time for the solar workshop, saying of the topic, “It’s big.” 

                                                            — Reported by Joanne Cole; edited by NGX