WATERVILLE — The Planning Board asked many questions Tuesday night about plans to build a 24-lot subdivision of retirement homes off Main Street, a project that would require changes to a city ordinance.

Kevin Violette started the process years ago to build a subdivision just north of the Interstate 95 overpass, but now wants to develop it in three phases over five years.

The first phase would include building seven houses and a road just off Main Street. More houses and a cul-de-sac would be part of the second phase, and the last portion would include building nine houses. The development would be called City View Estates.

One problem with Violette’s request is that a city ordinance requires a subdivision be completed within two years, although the ordinance allows a developer to apply for a time extension to complete an initial phase, according to Jeff Allen, an engineer with A.E. Hodsdon Consulting Engineers of Waterville, which is working on the plans.

“The timing — getting it all done in two years — is a challenge because it’s expensive,” Allen said.

The ordinance also allows only three houses on a private road. The road into the subdivision, City View Drive, would initially be a private road, but Violette wants to build it to city standards and then have the city accept it as a city street. He wants to do preliminary paving of the road but not the final layer of pavement until after some houses are built.


Allen said the plan does not meet the letter of the ordinance, but Violette is trying to meet the intent of it.

Violette said it is not financially feasible to do the project according to the ordinance rules. Doing it in three phases over five years would work, he said.

Board member David Johnson suggested City Solicitor William A. Lee III review the request for ordinance changes before the board makes a decision on the subdivision request. Johnson said he understood the challenges Violette is facing and recommended he speak to the Waterville Housing Committee, which is working to address housing needs in the city. Johnson said the committee has been proactive in getting adjustments made to help develop properties.

“You could certainly go to the City Council and ask them to make some adjustments,” Johnson said.

Board Chairperson Samantha Burdick said she also understands the need to create housing because there is high demand for it in the city, but she has concerns about making ordinance changes. Member Cassie Julia echoed Burdick’s concerns.

“I feel like these procedures are in place to prevent things from going awry,” Julia said.


Julia said she has known Violette for years and her comments were not about him, but she wanted to know what is to prevent a developer from not finishing a project.

Violette said her question was a good one. He said he has the funds to build the road, and the revenue from sales of the first homes to be built would be used to build the second and third phases.

“I have not started a project in Waterville that I haven’t finished yet,” he said.

Board member Bruce White, who represents Waterville in the state House of Representatives, said he spoke with Violette earlier Tuesday about the project.

The state Legislature passed a bill to allow those in single-family homes to build what are known as in-law apartments onto their houses to help with the housing crisis, and he thinks it important to make such accommodations locally.

“I think at the city level, we should do as much as we can,” White said, adding Violette has a good track record and Violette’s request for ordinance modifications should be addressed.


“If we don’t do it,” White said, “there are towns that are much more accommodating.”

His comments drew concern from board member Hilary Koch.

“Are you suggesting that we should ignore our city ordinances and we shouldn’t check with our city solicitor on these things?” she said.

White said he was not suggesting that and he thought it good to have a healthy debate about issues. Meanwhile, Burdick said a couple of abutters to the project on Country Way expressed concerns about the project because it would substantially change their backyards.

She said she has an appreciation for the project and for those who have lived at their homes for a long time.

Johnson made a motion to table the issue until Aug. 9, and the board agreed.

“I hope it does get resolved,” he said, “because we do need development in Waterville.”

Violette’s project was first approved in 1993 as a five-lot conventional subdivision and later changed to a 24-lot residential cluster subdivision. A sewer line was installed and a water line placed under Main Street to the edge of the property.

Violette said he plans to continue installing underground infrastructure, including water, electricity and communication lines.

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