The Waterville Planning Board is scheduled to consider approving preliminary plans May 28 for  a 40-unit apartment complex at 15 Washington St., shown above. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — Developers of a proposed eight-building, 40-unit apartment complex on Washington Street previewed their plans, which may include building additional units in the future, for the Waterville Planning Board on Tuesday.

As the project now stands, each building will have a footprint of 30-by-60-feet and five apartments in two sizes. John Jabar Jr. said the 1,200-square-foot apartments will be rented for “probably $2,000” and the 900-square-foot apartments for $1,500.

Jabar is expected to present preliminary and final plans to the board at its May 28 meeting.

“We’re going to maintain ownership of these properties,” Jabar said.

Planning Board members posed a lot of questions to Jabar, with Tom DePre asking how many parking spaces there will be, where snow will be deposited and if there is a trash receptacle on the site plan.

Jabar said he believes 80 spaces are planned, with room for more. He said he is considering a building for trash in the back of the development, and there is a lot of space for snow to be pushed toward the back.

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DePre asked why, if there is a lot of land for the development, the buildings are being constructed closer to Washington Street.

“It allows us to come back to you two years from now,” Jabar said.

He said he may construct another four buildings in the future. The land, he said, will slope to the back of the development, where the water will run off the site.

Board member David Johnson said the board needs to see landscaping plans and the location of the trash receptacle on the final plan when Jabar returns on May 28.

Sylvia Spear, an abutter to the project on Lincoln Street, said she was concerned about water running off the site at the back of the property, near where she lives.

“I’ve already got enough of a water problem there,” she said.

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Spear said she also is concerned about privacy. She said she lived in Connecticut and after moving to Clinton and China in Maine, she had privacy there.

“We came here because we had woods and privacy, and this is going to take it all away,” she said.

Spear said she is not against building apartments because the city needs housing, but she wants it done right and with protection for people who live in the area.

Jabar said he is willing to do any kind of screening that residents are happy with.

“As far as the water is concerned, we can’t have water leaving my property and just running onto your property,” he said. “I understand that, and to be honest with you, I won’t allow having water leave my property and impede somebody else’s.”

Board Chairwoman Samantha Burdick said when Jabar comes back to the board with a final plan, information about an underground soil filter must be on the plan.

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Abutter Sandra Kostron said she is concerned about traffic, as there is a lot of traffic already on Washington and Lincoln streets, as well as Kennedy Memorial Drive.

Burdick asked City Planner Ann Beverage if the city engineer would determine if a traffic study is needed.

“By ordinance, it’s not enough traffic to trip that, but he could make some recommendations,” Beverage said.

Jabar estimated the property to be developed is about 1,000 feet from the intersection of Washington Street and Kennedy Memorial Drive. Washington Street runs from Kennedy Memorial Drive into the Colby College campus.

He said he is ready to start on the project and as soon as he receives approval, the first building will go up quickly.

“Once the shovel gets into the ground, it will be done very quickly,” he said.

When Jabar returns with final plans, he must present a stormwater plan that is approved by the city engineer, an erosion control plan, parking stall length and width, utility plan, landscaping plan and other details.

The City Council voted 6-0 on Sept. 6, 2023, to approve rezoning the property from Commercial-C to Commercial-A to allow for the project. On May 23, 2023, the council referred a request to rezone the property to the Planning Board for a hearing and recommendation. The Planning Board voted last July to recommend rezoning.

Jabar told city councilors last year he has developed properties in Portland and wants to help with housing demands in Waterville, where he was born and raised. He said many people had approached him about developing housing in the city. The development would be adjacent to the building that houses the Waterville AAA Office on Washington Street.

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