The meeting was sparked by plans to tear down an old house and build three high-end condominiums, a parking lot and a 12-slip, private marina on Old Armory Way, which is a short, dead-end residential street on the Foreside’s Back Channel.
“We started talking about the appropriateness and safety of the project for our little street,” said Terry Lochhead, a resident of Old Armory Way and an organizer of the public meeting. “That led to some of us wondering what other people who live in this area want most for the Foreside.”
In recent years, there have been other public meetings to discuss development in the neighborhood; but at many of those sessions, the concerns of neighborhood businesses have seemed to predominate.
“That’s important, and people who work in the Foreside are welcome to this meeting,” Lochhead said. “But we’re especially interested in collecting the feelings of people who live here, whether they rent or own their homes.”
The proposal calls for tearing down a house that contains three apartments, as well as a detached garage. Three condominiums would be built on the site. The 15 Old Armory Way property extends to the water, where owner Ken McDavitt also proposes to build a 12-slip marina with water, electricity and Internet access.
The application is in the initial stages before the Planning Board, which has accepted the proposal as complete. But in two meetings, board members have raised a host of concerns about the plan. Planning Board Chairman Tom Emerson at a previous meeting said the marina was “the elephant in the room,” saying the number of slips should be reduced. The plans have to be approved by the Kittery Port Authority, as well.
McDavitt, of Sanbornville, N.H., has said he has owned the property since 2006, and is a boater himself. He said he plans to move into one of the condominiums, if he gets permission for the project, and put his boat at the marina.
The dock space would be built at the end of an existing pier on the property. Parking would need to be cleared from a wooded area at the end of the road. McDavitt has said he will “absolutely” listen to abutters’ concerns, saying “this is a neighborhood.” He said he has even offered slips to Old Armory Way residents, adding that several said they were interested.
Lochhead said more information on the meeting is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.