FARMINGTON — A Waterville-based company’s plan to develop an assisted living center on Knowlton Corner Road for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was approved unanimously Monday by the Farmington Planning Board.

Officials from Woodlands Senior Living gave their final presentation to the board Monday night, and pending receiving final permits from the Department of Environmental Protection, ground could be broken for the 36-bed care residence within the next month, Farmington Code Enforcement Officer Steve Kaiser said.

The $4 million project will be developed on 38 acres of former farmland at 175 Knowlton Corner Road. Kaiser said abutters of the property voiced concern at Monday’s meeting about a service entrance off Webster Road that is planned for the care center.

Initially, only a front vehicle entrance from Knowlton Corner Road was planned for the center, but the grade of the driveway would have been too steep for emergency and service vehicles. The company bought a smaller lot behind the property that would allow for a back service entrance to be used for deliveries and emergency vehicles, Kaiser said.

Woodlands representatives stressed at Monday’s meeting that the back entrance would be used only a half dozen or so times a week for deliveries, Kaiser said.

With only limited use of the Webster Road entrance, and the company’s plans to plant trees along side the entrance to block it from view, the board decided the back entrance would not cause much of a problem, Kaiser said.

Kaiser said Lon Walters and his son Matthew, who together own Woodlands Senior Living, have been good to work with through the planning process and he anticipates they will be good neighbors and will do their best to address abutters’ concerns.

“I think it’s designed the best it could be for that area. I hope it turns out pleasant for the abutters, and I think it will,” Kaiser said. “I think they’re going to be good neighbors, I just get that feeling from the Walters.”

At a special town meeting last month, residents approved giving Woodlands Senior Living a tax break to develop the property.

The terms of the property tax break, in the form of a tax increment financing agreement, will allow 100 percent of the property taxes paid by Woodlands Senior Living on the “memory care” center to be reimbursed in full to the company for 10 years.

Based on a $4 million property assessment with a projected tax rate of $18.80 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, $75,200 will be captured annually in the TIF, for a 10-year approximate total of $750,000 of tax money being reimbursed to Woodlands Senior Living.

Lon and Matthew Walters have said that since the Farmington property is completely undeveloped, a 10-year period of tax deferment will blunt some of the upfront development costs, which are projected to be around $800,000.

Woodlands Senior Living operates 12 assisted living residences in Maine. The memory care center in Farmington will specialize in providing care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The center will be the only one of its kind in the area and will create up to 30 full-time jobs, company representatives have said.

The project has a 12-month expected construction timeline, meaning it could be open by the end of next summer.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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