Planning board approves rental to condo switch

3 mins read

WILTON – The planning board has approved an application to turn five rental cottages into privately-owned condominiums at the end of Shea Street.

The board found that there was not sufficient evidence that the switch, which transfers ownership of the lakeside dwellings from the St. Pierre family to individual, private owners, constituted a change of use. Therefore, they did not require the applicant go through the lengthier subdivision approval process.

“It does, really, boil down to a change in ownership,” Code Enforcement Officer Paul Montague noted. The board voted in favor of not proceeding with the subdivision approval process by a vote of 5 to 1.

While more than three buildings on a single lot, owned by different parties, does constitute a subdivision in Wilton, Montague said that the board saw only minor changes in the sale of the properties. The plan does not allow for new construction, and the cottages will continue to see only seasonal use. According to both Montague and the applicants, in addition to being spelled out in the bylaws of the condo association, the properties are not adequately heated or insulated for Maine winters and the water is turned off after October.

The board also discussed the issue of the Shea Street. The road, some of which is owned by the St. Pierre family, is partially a town road. Some had voiced concerns about a possible increase in traffic along a narrow street. Gerald Bean Jr., who lives on Shea Street, noted at a meeting on August 7 that there was some concern over the use of the public road and a possible increase in traffic.

“It’s a very tiny street,” Bean said. “We’ve seen quite an increase in traffic this last summer.”

The board, however, found that there was nothing they could do about that situation. The geography of the region would make an expansion of Shea difficult. The private section of Shea Street is already adequately wide.

“The planning board found that there was nothing they could have [the applicant] do about that,” Montague said, “it’s a town road.”

The total acreage of the parcel, including the road and right of way, is 8.97 acres. Due to Wilton ordinances governing subdivisions, No new condos could be added onto the existing land, nor is any such expansion planned for the future. The owners of the land are considering the addition of a tennis court, but any construction of that nature would require additional planning board involvement and approval. The condo association’s bylaws prevent residents from substantially altering their cottages.

“It’s very detailed,” Montague said. “What you have is basically what you’re going to get.”

The owners now need to file the bylaws and record the plan with Franklin County. They can then begin to see the five units.

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