WATERVILLE — A Waterville native is proposing to build as many as four condominium buildings on Washington Street that could provide 96 units of much-needed housing in the city.

John Jabar went before the City Council on Tuesday to request councilors refer to the Planning Board for hearing and recommendation a proposal to rezone 15 Washington St. from Commercial-C to Commercial-A to allow for the housing. The council voted 6-0 to approve the request, with Councilor Thomas Klepach, D-Ward 3, absent from the meeting.

Jabar said he would build on a vacant 3.5-acre lot, and there is the ability to construct four buildings, each with 24 units. He also said he has done a lot of development in Portland and wants to help with housing demands in Waterville, where he was born and raised. He said many people have approached him about developing housing in the city.

“We need the housing,” Mayor Jay Coelho told Jabar.

The development would be adjacent to the building that houses AAA at 13 Washington St., a few hundred yards from the intersection with Kennedy Memorial Drive.

The Planning Board can make recommendations to the City Council on proposed zoning changes, but the council has the final decision.


In other matters Tuesday, the council took a first vote to amend the city’s zoning ordinance to allow veterinary clinics in the Commercial-A District, which would allow Matt Townsend to open a veterinary clinic in the mall on Waterville Commons Drive. The change would allow for clinics that provide wellness services, diagnostic testing and minor or routine surgeries for companion animals. Such clinics must be designed to mitigate noise and odors, and overnight boarding would not be allowed.

Townsend told councilors he has seen a change over 28 years regarding veterinary clinics, which are now often located in storefronts in areas where people tend to spend time.

“I think there is a definite need for a practice in this area,” Townsend said.

The City Council must take one more vote on the request.

Councilors also took a first of two needed votes to approve a request by Head of Falls Village, a housing complex proposed for Front and Temple streets in downtown Waterville, to reduce the size of off-street parking spaces from 18 1/2 feet to 18 feet, and reduce the setback from rear and side property lines from not less than 5 feet to not less than 2 feet. Ninety-one parking spaces are planned for the development and if the changes are not approved, the development would lose 21 spaces, according to the developer.

Independent Councilor Tom McCormick, who represents Ward 7, said he thinks the council needs to have a serious discussion about issues that occurred May 12 on Silver Street Extension, where a shooting occurred, the suspect fled, fights broke out afterward and law enforcement officers from several agencies assisted. The activity occurred near Cancun Mexican Restaurant, which has been the subject of multiple citations, according to McCormick.


Coelho said the state is dealing with the restaurant’s liquor license issues, and the people who were hurt in the recent incident were from out of state, which would be hard to blame on the owner.

Coelho also said Cancun is not the only bar near or at The Concourse that has seen a shooting, and the city need find a solution, such as developing an ordinance with policies and procedures that spell out rules for establishments. He said the city has a habit of talking about putting policies and procedures in place, but then no action is taken.

“It’s been raised tonight, and I think we should follow up on this and come up with some recommendations,” council Chairwoman Rebecca Green, D-Ward 4, said.

Councilor Brandon Gilley, D-Ward 1, echoed McCormick’s comments, saying the matter is concerning and must be addressed.

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