This rendering shows the four different buildings that are planned for an affordable housing complex on Weston Avenue in Madison. Residents in town gave their approval for the project during a special meeting Monday. Rendering courtesy of Sam Hight

MADISON — Residents by an overwhelming margin have approved a $10 million affordable housing project that will include four buildings and 36 units on vacant land once occupied by an elementary school.

Town Manager Tim Curtis said 160 residents attended Monday’s special meeting and the vote was conducted by hand, with about 80% of people in favor of the plan.

The article approved by residents gives the Select Board the OK to negotiate with developers on the first phase of the project on Weston Avenue, he said. The town has owned the land for several years.

“I was very pleased with the process,” Curtis said Tuesday. “It was nice to see so many people come out and have a much-needed discussion about housing in our area.”

The project has received criticism from some in town, particularly from people living near the property at 55 Weston Ave. They have said the housing will disrupt the quiet nature of the neighborhood, and have expressed concern it will revert to a kind of low-income housing that will bring with it crime, illicit drug use and other objectionable behavior by people living there.

Some of those points were raised again Monday at the meeting, with a few people arguing that the scale of the complex is not compatible with the neighborhood, Curtis said.


The first phase of the project will see two buildings constructed with 18 units, followed later by another two buildings with an additional 18 units. The housing would be a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments along with studio apartments.

One of the developers, Sam Hight, has said the complex will not be available for Section 8 vouchers and also not qualify as subsidized affordable housing.

The project is now being evaluated by the state agency MaineHousing for approval on the financing.

“Assuming they get approved for funding, the Select Board can finalize the deed and they can get the appropriate permits and start building by the spring,” Curtis said. 

In addition to Hight, of the Hight Family of Dealerships, the developers are Kara Wilbur, a developer based in New Portland and Portland, and Brian End, a developer in Portland. Together the three make up 55 Weston Avenue LLC.

The property was once home to Weston Avenue School. It was built in the 1920s and served as the elementary school for the north side of town, and more recently was home to Maine School Administrative District 59’s administrative offices until 2012, Curtis previously said.

Hight said the development project came about after a housing study released last year identified a housing shortage in the area.

Scott Dionne, chief marketing officer at Belfast-based GO Lab Inc., previously spoke in favor of adding housing in the area, especially as the wood fiber insulation company prepares to grow its work force with the launch of a manufacturing facility at the former Madison Paper Mill.

Its TimberHP operation in Madison is looking to hire about 120 workers over the next three to five years, he said.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.