WATERVILLE — A plan to build apartments on Washington Street moved a step closer to reality this week as the City Council approved a zoning change for the project.

John Jabar Jr. and his son, John Jabar III, have told the city they want to construct up to four buildings on the site, which is about 3.5 acres, and have eight apartments in each five-story building. Initial plans called for four 3-bedroom apartments and four 2-bedroom.

Underground parking for tenants, an elevator and some outside parking for visitors also are being proposed.

The number of units now proposed is fewer than what John Jabar Jr. had initially pitched to city officials. He had said in May that up to 96 units were possible.

The City Council voted 6-0 Tuesday night to approve rezoning the property from Commercial-C to Commercial-A to allow for the project. The council on May 23 had referred to the Planning Board, for hearing and recommendation, a request to rezone the property. The Planning Board in July voted to recommend rezoning.

But the Jabars, who more recently said they would start with one or two buildings, still must present a site plan to the Planning Board before they can go forward with the project.


City Planner Ann Beverage said Wednesday that no date has been set for the project to come back to the board. When it does, the developers must present not only a site plan, but also a survey and letters from the Kennebec Water District, Waterville Sewerage District, city engineer and deputy chief of the Waterville Fire Department. Parking also must be shown on the plan.

Beverage said the city engineer would look at vehicle traffic circulation on and off the site, as well as stormwater and related issues, and the state Department of Environmental Protection may have to approve the project.

“If they are creating enough impervious area, they need DEP, and that approval takes a fair amount of time,” Beverage said.

The building itself, she said, is not reviewed by the board, since the Fire Department would look at building issues.

John Jabar Jr. told the council on May 23 that there is the ability to construct four buildings on the site. He 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.

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.

A call placed Wednesday to John Jabar Jr. was not immediately returned.

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