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September 21, 2017

Public split on Damariscotta commercial development proposal

Opinion was split among Damariscotta residents during a public hearing on a development proposal by Portland developer Daniel Catlin, CEO of Commercial Properties Inc., for an 11-acre Main Street property.

The Lincoln County News reported the hearing drew more than 50 people. Many expressed concern about the appearance of the development, which is proposed to be three commercial buildings: a 22,000-square-foot-building for two commercial stores, a 5,525-square-foot building with three commercial spaces, and a 2,700-square-foot bank with a drive-thru.

Minda Gold, a resident and owner of Full Circle Direct Primary Care, asked Catlin about the possibility of making the buildings and facade "better fit into [Damariscotta's] New England landscape."

Those in favor said the development would boost the town's tax base, with the possibility of defraying taxes for residents, and create jobs.

Newcastle resident Jenny Mayher asked Catlin to consider a development with mixed-use buildings.

"Damariscotta needs apartments and office space, and this could be on the cutting edge of that," Mayher said.

Catlin said he would take the concerns about the appearance of the buildings back to his architect to see if amendments to the plan could be made.

Earlier in September, a citizens' petition calling for a moratorium on commercial development in Damariscotta moved forward to selectmen. The petition calls for a temporary ban on new retail buildings of larger than 2,500 square feet and on any new construction, expansion or use that requires approval under town ordinances, and came in response to controversy over Catlin's project.

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