200 proposed apartments on the Westbrook mobile park site

The Direnzo family trailer park has been in operation since 1960, but will close in 2023 if the 200-apartment project continues. Opportunity Viles / American Magazine

Westbrook City Council on Monday approved zoning changes that pave the way for a 200-apartment development off Spring Street that would displace residents of a mobile mini-home garden now on the site.

The council approved the changes 5-2, with Chancellors Mike Shauncey and David Morse voting against, saying they were concerned that the 14 tenants at the property at 984 Spring Street might not be financially able to find new places to live. Of the 16 homes located in Direnzo’s Mobile Home Park, owned by Tony Direnzo of Westbrook, 14 are haunted.

The project will consist of eight three-storey buildings with a total of 200 apartments for rent, according to the initial plans. It would be a big change for the area now for industrial use and home to Idexx Corp.

The shift to residential use is purposeful, according to city planner Jenny Franceschi, as the city looks to create more housing and transform this part of the city into a gateway to South Portland, matching similar developments across the city line.

Mike Barton of developer Tom Watson & Co. said:

Residents who spoke with the American Journal in their homes Monday said selling the land may be inconvenient, but they understand Direnzo’s desire to sell and retire and are happy to receive notice a year in advance.

Jess Higgins has been outside her house for seven years. She said she is not looking to find new accommodation given the high rent at the moment, but believes she will have enough time to find a new place to live. Opportunity Viles / American Magazine

I have children, the rent is high, but we have a year. “I feel like we’ve had enough of a warning,” said Jess Higgins, who has lived in the park for seven years.

Higgins said she’s heard of a potential sale over the past few years, so the possibility of having to move was always on her mind.

“It’s quiet here, no problems. I haven’t started looking for other options but we’ll be good.”

As her neighbors, Matt Gemond and Charlie Steen, said they weren’t too concerned about having to move. Guimond said he’s known a potential sale for a year and a half and that he’s “agree to sell it”.

Stain agrees.

It’s their land for sale, and we have plenty of time,” Steen said.

Direnzo, who also takes care of the property’s maintenance, said he “feels bad” about the tenants, many of whom have grown over the years. The park, which he inherited from his mother, has been open since 1960.

“I really love the tenants. I will miss this and I will miss them, but I am 77 years old. I need to retire,” he told American Journal while doing yard work on the property on Monday.

An early view of one of the eight apartment buildings proposed for 984 Spring St. The project has yet to go through the planning board process. Contributed by John Laliberte

According to Barton, tenants can be moved into a number of company-owned properties, or developers can help them work with housing agencies like Avesta.

He said developers could also save money for a start-up to a new location if they couldn’t afford the initial costs of relocation.

“What does this actual plan look like today no It’s formalized, but we have a variety of things in our toolbox. We have high quality housing consortium relationships, Our other property, so we have very deep Barton said.

Shaughnessy said he would like to write some tangible ways the company will find new places to live.

Morse agreed with Shaughnessy, and said he wanted to avoid the idea or “even the perception that this is a desirable place to live now, let’s get rid of the low-income people.”

The project is still a way out and must be approved by the Westbrook Planning Board, where design plans, costs and other details will be submitted.

Co-developer John Laliberte said the apartments are being built for the workforce, and the goal is to rent out many of them to employees of nearby companies.

“The (land) sale is still in its very early stages and we don’t expect to close until the spring of 2023 at the earliest,” Laliberte said in an email to the American Journal. “Once construction begins, it will take another two years to complete. This is up front, final rental rates have not been set. However, we intend these new homes to be attractive and viable options for the local Westbrook workforce.”

City planner Franceschi said the change allows this entry into the city to be more of a gateway and to align with similar developments across the city line. She said the area is under development for housing, and the proposed housing complex is not an isolated project.

South Portland Redevelops (Former Golf Club) Sable Oaks with Residential development,” Franceschi said. “We are looking at the West DistrictSchedule and S.opo And the presence of housing created, This is a big deal.”

At the same time, the land for sale has not received any interest from industrial developers, Director of Economic Development, Dan Stevenson, said. The soil is too weak to handle large, heavy structures, Franceschi said, but it is suitable for housing.

I have was on the plane over here Less than 4 and a half years and I have not once Prospect Look at that areaStephenson said.

An early sketch of a proposed Spring Street apartment complex in Westbrook. The plan calls for two more apartment buildings than the six shown in this scheme. Contributed by John Laliberte

The mobile homes are located in one corner of a large plot at 984 Spring St. Opportunity Viles / American Magazine

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