SOUTH PORTLAND — Two large-scale housing projects have received final approval from the South Portland Planning Board.

One, proposed by the South Portland Housing Authority, will add more than 40 affordable units at 611 Main St. in Thornton Heights, on the site of the former St. John the Evangelist Church.

The second, at 450 Clark’s Pond Parkway, will create more than 250 market-rate apartments near the Maine Mall.

Planning Board members approved both projects during a meeting last week.

The housing authority proposal had to overcome neighborhood opposition that arose since plans were revealed late last year. It required a zoning change and several hearings before the City Council and Planning Board before final approval was granted.

Residents’ concerns centered on traffic and light pollution from the project, which is bounded by Main Street, Aspen Avenue and Thirlmere Avenue. The nearly 2-acre site includes a parish house and a school building, which have been vacant for four years.

The design of the project was altered over the course of several meetings with neighbors.

Neighborhood resident Heather Bridges said last week that at first she was not in favor of the project, but now feels it will be a great addition.

City councilors previously approved a zoning change for the proposed $9 million project. The rear acre of the property had to be rezoned because it was in a Residential A zone, while the rest of the parcel was in the Main Street Community Commercial zone.

A 42-unit building and three single-family homes are part of the proposal. Thirty-three of the apartments will be listed at defined affordable rates for people earning no more than 60 percent of the median income in the city. The remaining units will be rented at market rates. Parking includes space for 72 cars, although the city only requires 45.

To qualify for affordable housing, a single person can earn no more than $28,000 per year, and a family of four could earn no more than $41,000.

Rents would range from $770 per month for a one-bedroom apartment to $1,081 for a three-bedroom unit, More said.

The housing authority is under contract to purchase the property from Cafua Management for $1.2 million.

Cafua is the Methuen, Massachusetts-based company that bought the property in 2013, with the aim of building a drive-through Dunkin’ Donuts. That proposal was abandoned after it provoked vigorous opposition from neighbors opposed to the scale of the project.

More said the housing authority will now apply for a federal low-income housing tax credit to help fund the project. Whether funding is approved will be known by December. Construction could begin as early as fall 2019, with completion expected a year later.

The Clark’s Pond Parkway project is owned by Vincent Maietta, who plans to build 212 two-bedroom units and 44 one-bedroom units in four, six-story buildings.

The project is expected to cost between $20 million and $25 million, according to Maietta.

Also included in the plans is a fenced-in dog park for tenants of the community, which Maietta said he wants to be pet-friendly.

The buildings are proposed to be 60 feet tall, which is below the limit of 86 feet. Two access drives would be constructed from Clark’s Pond Parkway to parking areas containing 391 spaces.

A traffic study conducted by Sebago Technics showed the complex will produce 140 trips in the morning and 171 trips in the evening at peak hours.

Maietta has also agreed to connect the sidewalk from the parkway to John Roberts Road.

He said he expects monthly rents will range from $1,100-$1,500, and noted the project is privately funded and not subsidized.

Juliette Laaka can be contacted at 781-3611 ext. 106 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter @JulietteLaaka

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