Village at Albion discussion continues; neighbors concerned

Village at Albion discussion continues; neighbors concerned

Plans for the Albion Village condominium development show 14 duplexes, which would be age-restricted for those 55 and older.

LINCOLN – A developer’s proposal to build condominiums at the site of the former Highridge Swim & Tennis Club near Lincoln High School will be a topic of discussion at this month’s Planning Board meeting, where board members will decide whether the project meets the town’s requirements and is consistent with the comprehensive plan.

Link Commercial Properties LLC, owned by Frank Paolino, plans to build 28 age-restricted condo units at 192 Old River Road. He’s proposing a total of 14 one-level duplexes, each with an attached two-car garage, called The Village at Albion.

At a public informational hearing Aug. 28, several neighbors expressed concerns about certain aspects of the proposed development.

Abutter Sal Maggiacomo said he’s concerned about the project’s impact on water pressure. “Ours isn’t the greatest, and people further back have it even worse,” he told the board. The condos would be connected to public utilities.

Maria Persia said her land is not level, and sits much lower than the proposed development.

“We have a lot of drainage issues as it is,” she said.

The president of Kirkbrae Meadows Condo Association said the association is also concerned with drainage issues.

“We had some runoff remediation done, but that land is not flat. I want it on the record that I have an issue with that.”

Peter Gingras, who lives across the street, said he’s worried about privacy.

“I used to see the club, sunsets and sunrises. Now I have to look at the back of these houses, I guess,” he said.

Representing the developer, attorney Brian LaPlante said there are many more details to flesh out regarding fencing, buffers and landscaping when the project moves past the conceptual design phase. The board has asked for a more detailed landscape architecture plan going forward.

Asked by one abutter whether the value of their home would go down if it’s surrounded by condos, LaPlante said the developer elected to build a high-end development, with homes marketed at more than $400,000. He had considered building apartment units, as the property can withstand the density for hundreds of units, however he scaled back his plans to the current proposal of 14 buildings.

Greg Richard of the Kirkbrae Group said his top concern is the 35-foot-wide entrance road to the development, which he said is the only way in and out. “To disrupt service to that road to bring in utilities would be a major disadvantage,” he said, asking that they consider widening the road another 15 feet to install utilities.

“I’m not against what he’s proposing, this is the best use for that area, but I want to be sure it won’t affect Kirkbrae Glen, Meadows or the apartments,” he said.

LaPlante said they can’t widen the road and still preserve the property’s historic stone wall. They’ve been asked to maintain the wall by the Technical Review Committee in response to residents’ concerns.

“We need to balance those two issues,” LaPlante said.

As far as the project timeline, LaPlante said he expects construction to be relatively fast if the project is approved.

“It’s all about the marketplace and the economy, but Mr. Paolino has been doing this for a long time and recognizes that there is a market for a 55-plus development,” he said. “He wouldn’t be in this business if he felt this project would last years and years. The idea is to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

For the project to go forward, Link will need to secure a zone change, special use permit, lot width variance and lot coverage variance. The company would first need the Planning Board’s conditional master plan approval, followed by the Town Council’s permission for a zone change, as well as a change to the comprehensive plan future land use map.

The discussion was continued to this month’s Planning Board meeting on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. in Lincoln Town Hall. The board has until Oct. 14 to make a decision.

A rendering of a duplex at the Albion Village.

Comments

It was a lovely property, a really nice place to go in Summer. I want a member, but I had friends who were, and they would often invite me. Development is about balance. and now Lincoln is being damaged by too far much of it. The woodlands, waterways and opens spaces that make this town appealing to residents, both current and prospective, are being swiftly gobbled up. The roads aren't keeping up with the increased demand. Day by day, with each new build, it's becoming a less pleasant place to live.