Rockland Planning Board Approves Downtown Affordable Housing Project – Knox County VillageSoup

ROCKLAND — The Rockland Planning Board unanimously approved Tuesday night a project that will create nine affordable apartments on the upper floors of a downtown commercial block.

Developer Caleb Lincoln appeared before the Rockland Planning Board on November 1 and received approval. The project is expected to take 18 months after purchasing the land.

Rockland Main Street Inc. executive director David Gogel was the only person to speak during the formal public hearing on Nov. 1. Gogel praised the project.

“This is exactly the kind of project we want in Rockland, affordable housing for workers within walking distance of downtown,” Gogel said.

The Rockland Main Street CEO pointed out that a recent survey of downtown businesses found that 88 percent say there is a need for affordable housing for workers, 71 percent said they are struggling to hire workers due to the housing shortage and maintain, and 80 percent say the housing shortage is having a negative impact on the community.

The project at 404-408 Main St. was selected by the Maine State Housing Authority for potential Affordable Rent program funding. If approved, rents would not exceed 30 percent of tenants’ incomes. Eligible renters would be people who earn no more than 80 percent of the area’s median income — which equates to about $46,000 a year.

Six one-room and three two-room apartments will be built. The units have heat pumps with additional electric base heating. There will be hot water on request.

Developer is Lincoln under the company name Lake City Investment LLC.

The developer has a purchase and sale agreement to purchase 404-408 Main St. where Loyal Biscuit and Huston-Tuttle are located at street level. The suggestion is that he would then lease that street-level space back to the retailers. The property is currently owned by Fennylicious LLC, owned by Heidi and Joel Neal.

The sale is expected to close by May 21, 2023.

Lincoln also operates Botany at 409 Main St.

As a further action, on November 1 the planning board considered the Maine State Credit Union‘s proposal to convert the former Tim Hortons at 168 Camden St. for its use as a full-service branch. The Board will tour the property on Tuesday, November 15 at 3:00 p.m. A final vote may be taken at the board meeting scheduled for 5:15 p.m. that day.

The building was the location of Tim Hortons, who operated there until it closed in December 2013.

The 3,200 square meter building was constructed in 2006. Maine State Credit Union purchased the 3-acre property from Newport-based GL Investment LLC in June 2022 for $700,000.

The Rockland Planning Board met Tuesday evening, November 1st.

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