2017-06-21 / Front Page

Developer hopes to add to Saco's senior housing

Staff Writer

SACO — The owner of a Scarborough retirement community would like Saco to approve zoning changes that would allow the company to create a manufactured home retirement community in the northern part of the city.

Theresa Desfosses, owner of State Manufactured homes and Hillcrest Retirement Community, a 55 plus community at 126 U.S. Route 1 in Scarborough is proposing a 55 plus manufactured home community in Saco, west of Route 1 and north of Spring Hill Road.

Following a dispute between Desfosses and abutter Bill Dodge Nissan, the Planning Board developed new zoning regulations to define automotive warehouses and distribution facilities and to define and make clear zoning standards for elder, non-congregate, detached housing.

The proposed changes require elder, non-congregate, detached housing to consist of 
fully-insulated, year-round manufactured or traditional, on-site built homes for those 55 and older. Planned developments may include a community center, an exercise or fitness center for residents and guests, management and sales offices, and temporary storage of manufactured homes. Developments can include accessories and structures including storm water maintenance facilities, parking areas, utility services, site amenities and outside recreational communities.

The proposed changes would require homes in such developments to have lots be at least 5,000 square feet, with at least 50 feet of street frontage. Structures must not exceed 45 percent of the lot area and shall not be more than 35-feet high. 

Tinamarie Smith, representing State Manufactured Homes, gave a presentation at a public hearing at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

She said her grandfather started the business that provides affordable housing in Scarborough 75 years ago. The company is doing well and would like to expand to Saco, she said.

Smith said the Scarborough development brings in about $222,500 in property taxes from the homes and nearly $65,000 from the land.

“We fill a real niche market in our area. We really fell like we’ll be a benefit to the city,” she said.
Smith said the homes in the  Scarborough community are Energy Star certified and affordable to heat.

Homes are designed so that future accommodations like wheel chair ramps can be made. Staff take residents on group shopping trips and the community center hosts activities such as barbecues.

“It’s a really nice place to live,” said Smith.

The company is proposing 200 to 250 homes in Saco, she said. Lots would be about 65 by 100 feet.

Smith’s presentation received a positive response from city councilors. Councilor Alan Minthorn welcomed Smith, noting their are waiting lists for existing senior housing.

Councilor David Precourt said he had driven through the Scarborough development and said it was beautiful. “You guys have done a nice job,” he said.

Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or egotthelf@journaltribune.com.

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