Workers in May raze the former John Martin’s Manor building at 54 College Ave. in Waterville. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall on a 23-unit multifamily housing complex at the site. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

WATERVILLE — The Planning Board approved minor changes Tuesday night to a previously approved site plan for Manor Gardens, a 23-unit multifamily development on College Avenue.

The 5-0 vote followed an explanation by Michael Curran, a partner in Arcon Realty, the developer, that three units were being removed from the plan to reduce costs.

Arcon is also increasing one building’s footprint by 100 square feet, and trash receptacles will be removed from the top of a parking lot to make way for snowplowing, according to Curran.

The board Aug. 9 approved Arcon Realty’s plans for the complex at the site, which for many years was John Martin’s Manor. Arcon demolished the former restaurant earlier this year.

Arcon Realty is owned by Arthur Turmelle and his family, including Curran, his son-in-law. The Turmelles have for many years owned, redeveloped and operated dozens of rental properties in the city’s North End.

The restaurant at the 30,000-square-foot building at 54 College Ave. closed in 2007 after 30 years in business. It had been owned by Peter Martin, who grew up in the business with his father, John, who opened it in 1977.


In other matters Tuesday, the board voted 5-0 (members Hilary Koch and Bruce White were absent) to approve a request by Jeff Karter to rezone 287 and 289 Main St. from Contract Zoned District/Commercial-A and Residential-C, respectively, to a new Contract Zoned District.

Karter, whose business, Waterville Florist & Formal Wear, is on Main Street, said he is is seeking a bank loan to combine two parking lots and improve the aesthetics at that section of the street. City Planner Ann Beverage said the bank asked for the rezoning to allow more uses in the area. The only use now allowed is the florist shop.

“That makes for better collateral for the loan,” Beverage said.

That strip of Main Street includes commercial and residential properties. Board Chairperson Samantha Burdick said she thought that instead of contract zoning each property along that strip, the city should look at the area more comprehensively.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to keep contract zoning this,” she said.

Karter said he agreed with Burdick, adding it would make it easier for people to buy a building and fix it up. And it would be easier for the seller, he said.

The board decided to recommend to the City Council that Karter’s request for rezoning be approved, but consider a more comprehensive zone change for Main Street, from Hillside Avenue to High Street, to allow for more uses in that strip.

Board member David Johnson recommended asking the Waterville Housing Committee for an opinion on changing that section of Main Street to a new, transitional zone that would apply to both sides of the street.

In a separate matter, Randy Butler of Dirigo Engineering updated the board on plans by L/A Properties to develop a five-lot subdivision at 200 Eight Rod Road and a six-lot subdivision on Webb Road. The board postponed consideration of final plans for both to Sept. 27.

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