YORK, Maine — The owner of the Route 1 property where the Mic Mac Motel was once located came before the Planning Board recently with plans to build a three-story, 65-unit Comfort Inn or similar hotel.

Owner Mark Dellapasqua of Kittery Indian LLC was looking for early input from the board before he files his formal plans for the property. According to Rick Lundborn of CLD/Fuss & O’Neil of Kennebunk, the project meets setbacks and all requirements of town ordinance, except for parking. And he was before the board to ask if members would be amenable to including more spaces than are allowable under the ordinance.

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The property is just north of the intersection of Route 1 and Riverbend Road, and abuts several homes there and on Greenacre Drive. During the public comment portion of the meeting, neighbors raised additional concerns including the building’s placement, drainage, lighting, fencing, noise and dumpster smells.

At issue for Lundborn and Dellapasqua is the physical location of the motel and the parking lot on the property. Town ordinances require Route 1 buildings to be as close as possible to Route 1, with parking to the side and behind. While he presented several iterations, Lundborn’s preferred plan called for the building to be at an angle and back in the corner by the Riverbend Road properties.

Parking would then be entirely in front of the building and on the side so car headlights would primarily face the building, Route 1 and the parking lot of the York Hospital Walk-in Clinic next door. This was done so headlights would not shine into residential homes, Lundborn said. He said 82 are required, or 1.25 spaces per unit. The proposal calls for 90 spaces.

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“Even though all the parking is toward the clinic parking lot, technically it’s not allowed even though it’s a better, more kind layout (for the neighbors) considering traffic coming and going all night long from a beach community,” he said. He said even at this early stage, a landscape architect was brought in and developed plans to screen the lot from Route 1 and neighbors with trees and shrubs.

The ordinance only allows for 10 spaces in the front and the plans call for 28 spaces. Lundborn asked if the 18 spaces of the old Mic Mac Motel would be grandfathered. Land use technician Heather Ross said in her reading of the ordinances, those could only be counted as grandfathered if a new building replaced the old motel within two years. That structure was demolished in the fall of 2017, leaving the unlikely span of less than a year to build the new hotel.

Planning Board members seemed amenable to the plan overall. “Once you add landscaping and visually change the impact from Route 1, we may not see a lot of those cars, which is the whole point of our standards on Route 1, which is best face forward,” said Kathleen Kluger. “This is directly adjacent to a complete neighborhood. So if our best face forward can be landscaping, behind which the hardware of cars is stored, it could be a win-win for the whole area.”

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Pete Smith said he’d like to see the number of spaces cut to 82, with eight spaces removed closer to Route 1. “Why have 90? You don’t need 90, and there can be grass where you pull out the eight spaces,” he said.

Wayne Boardman asked why there needs to be 65 units. “There’s nothing magical about 65 units over 60 units, in order to get the parking a little less of an issue. I’d like to see if you could make it even more attractive at 60 units.” But Smith said, “whether it’s 60 or 65 is not as important to me as to whether we can stomach and vote for mostly side parking instead of side and back.”

Greenacre Drive resident Jim Fabiano said he was speaking for all of his neighbors that night, and raised a litany of issues he wants to make sure are addressed – many of which, Lundborn said later, already have been.

The entire neighborhood was concerned about drainage. The clay soil in the area holds water, but they don’t have a problem because a culvert under the road drains water from the entire neighborhood. He said he wants to “put it on the record that we are very concerned that no water backs up onto our property.”

Other issues include sewer hookup, water pressure, downward LED lighting, fencing in addition to a vegetative buffer and noise from HVAC systems.

“We want to keep our quiet neighborhood quiet if that’s feasible,” Fabiano said.