The Ellsworth City Hall is show in this August 2021 file photo. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A developer has approached city officials about building what would be the largest housing project in the city and one of the largest in eastern Maine.

W.L. Properties is looking to build 142 units in a multifamily complex off Downeast Highway, on land behind Ellsworth Tennis Center on Eastward Way. Although the developer has not yet submitted any application materials to the city, it met with the planning board on June 1 to discuss the concept and what information the city will need with the permit application.

The development would be created in phases, with 74 units built in the first phase, according to Shelly Lizotte, a civil engineer with Bangor architecture firm Artifex, which is consulting on the project.

Developer Scott Pelletier said that the units would include single-story duplexes and two-story multifamily buildings. All of the units would be market-rate rental apartments, he said.

“We want it to feel more like a neighborhood than a housing complex,” Pelletier told the board. “We’d like to break ground in the fall.”

Patrick Lyons, an alternate member of the board, said that the city needs housing. He’s glad Pelletier wants to build some adjacent to the city’s developed High Street retail corridor and hopes it will have good pedestrian and bicycle access to the development from Route 1. That way residents won’t have to drive a short distance to go to a nearby restaurant or grocery store.

“With all those people, pedestrian access is critical,” Lyons said. “I imagine people would like to bike if possible.”

Pelletier said he would like to have walking paths to make it easy to walk around the development site, but he can’t have too much impervious surface in the development without affecting the number of units he can put in there. He said having gravel walkways rather than paved or concrete sidewalks might be one way to avoid that.

“We’d like to have stuff like that,” Pelletier said. “We’re not against it.”

John DeLeo, chairman of the planning board, said Friday he was not sure when the developer might submit more information to the city or reappear before the board.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....