ROCKLAND, Maine – Metropolis Council is forming volunteer committees to make suggestions on how extra housing models could be developed in Rockland.
An advert hoc committee will look at how extra residences could be organized on the higher flooring of downtown buildings, and a second will work on growing suggestions for reusing an old-fashioned constructing as housing.
The town council created these committees for the primary time in 2017; nevertheless, none have produced concrete outcomes. The downtown committee by no means met. The McLain College committee acquired proposals from builders, however talks collapsed after town didn’t solidify plans for the constructing and the neighborhood wanted area.
With reasonably priced housing choices changing into more and more scarce within the area, metropolis officers hope the revival of the committees is a means for town to start to search out doable options.
“Should you actually assume this answer might work, become involved,” stated Rockland Metropolis Councilor Sarah Austin.
Rockland, like many Mid Coast communities, has struggled to remain reasonably priced. The median worth of houses in Knox County is about $ 30,000 greater than what the typical dwelling purchaser can simply afford. In Rockland alone, over 50% of residents can not afford the median worth of a house of $ 167,000, which is about $ 15,000 greater than the typical family can afford, in keeping with 2019 MaineHousing information.
Likewise, leases in Rockland are unaffordable for most individuals. In 2020, the typical value of a two-bedroom rental on the town was round $ 1,500 monthly with utilities, in keeping with information from Maine Housing. To have the ability to pay this hire, a family would want to have an annual revenue of about $ 60,000. Nonetheless, the typical revenue for a renter in Rockland is just $ 33,500.
The town just lately rolled again restrictions on secondary suites in an effort to create extra housing and cut back excessive rental costs.
Lately, the potential for changing the McLain College into an house constructing has been touted as one other means for town to extend the housing inventory. The varsity was inbuilt 1896 and served college students till about 20 years in the past, when it grew to become the executive workplaces of Regional Tutorial Unit 13.
Discussions across the metropolis’s takeover of the constructing started about 5 years in the past and the McLain College’s preliminary housing committee was fashioned accordingly. Nonetheless, the method was delayed as a result of RSU 13 wanted the extra area and town by no means moved ahead with a stable plan for the constructing.
Earlier this yr, the varsity district renewed its dedication to switch possession of the constructing to town. Though the district superintendent has stated that is unlikely to occur throughout the present college yr.
With this selection to return to the desk, town is relaunching the committee chargeable for in search of proposals for the event of the varsity. At their Monday evening assembly, metropolis council additionally accepted a zoning change that may permit housing to be created inside the college.
“This can be a long-term venture in coordination with RSU 13 and so long as they can half with the constructing and supply it to town, we want to be able to strategy builders who can work on the venture to rework it into housing. Austin stated.
Though there are a selection of house models on the higher flooring of downtown buildings, the second committee established by town council will search for methods to develop extra.
No municipal ordinance purely and easily prohibits the event of housing on the higher flooring of downtown buildings; nevertheless, some buildings could also be extra appropriate for growth than others.
“There are plenty of untapped residential models obtainable within the downtown space,” stated Wyatt Philbrook, Rockland’s deputy code enforcement officer. “To the extent that stopping them from being developed, it could possibly be particular to a constructing, or to the necessities of a fireplace workplace or code that can’t be met with no vital funding.”