WATERVILLE — The Planning Board on Tuesday is scheduled to consider a request to rezone part of College Avenue to allow apartments to be in that area as a way to meet the great demand for housing in the city.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at The Elm at 21 College Ave. and the public may also view it via a link on the city’s website.

The Planning Board does not have authority to rezone properties — only the City Council has that power — but the board may make a recommendation. The council recently asked the Planning Board to consider making a recommendation on zoning in that area.

The request before the city is to rezone all but two properties abutting the west side of College Avenue from the south side of Maple Street to Broadway Street to allow apartments.

Excluded in the request is 110 College Avenue, the site of Brown House Commons, an apartment complex that is in a contract zone.

City Planner Ann Beverage said Monday that the College Avenue rezoning request came from the city’s Housing Committee, which was formed earlier this year to address what officials say is a crisis in Waterville. Officials say there’s not enough affordable housing stock in the city and what is available is often too costly for people who may be looking to move to the area.


“The state is looking at ways to encourage cities to allow more housing,” Beverage said. “In other words, some towns have zoning ordinances that don’t allow as much housing. The housing committee is looking for ways to increase housing in Waterville and that strip (on College Avenue) is mixed use, with a fair amount of residential.”

Waterville’s Housing Committee has been charged with assessing whether the city has the right kinds of housing stock in the right amounts and for what economic levels.

The committee’s recommendation comes as two applicants are interested in building housing along the strip of College Avenue between Maple Street and Broadway, which stretches from about the former John Martin’s Manor to the former Marden’s Surplus & Salvage, which now is a moving and storage business. Neither has come to the city with a formal request, however, according to Beverage.

Some housing committee members don’t want to rezone one parcel at a time, so they opted to request a strip be rezoned, she said.

“This is a way to take a more comprehensive approach,” she said.

The Commercial-C zone is 200 feet west of the centerline of College Avenue. Beverage said she sent letters to 124 property owners who live in the area to notify them of Tuesday’s meeting, as by ordinance, she must notify anyone who touches the property that would be rezoned, as well as anyone across the street.

Letters were sent to owners of properties along the west side of College Avenue from the south side of Maple Street to Broadway Street, as well as owners of other properties in the 200-foot-wide Commercial-C zone on the west side of College Avenue and all owners of properties abutting and across the street from those properties.

The city is set to consider revisions to the marijuana ordinance to allow marijuana businesses in what’s called the C-C1 zone, according to Beverage. Without those revisions, existing marijuana businesses in the C-C1 zone would become legal nonconforming, she said.

In other matters, the board plans to consider making recommendations to the council about adopting adaptive reuse and demolition delay ordinances and creating a historic preservation committee.

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