Colchester considers E. Lakeshore housing

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Colchester developer Hank Gintof has filed the first land use application under Colchester’s new lakefront zoning regulations.

Gintof’s Signature Properties is the co-applicant on a cluster of nine townhomes on East Lakeshore Drive, within short walking distance of Bayside Park. The Development Review Board is scheduled to take up the application September 28.

The Colchester Selectboard approved new zoning for Lakeshore Drive in August, creating a “Lakeshore 1” district on the lake side of the road and a “Lakeshore 2” district on the non-lake side.

Gintof, along with co-applicants and landowners Ray Vartuli and Gary and Susan Pasha, are proposing three triplexes in the Lakeshore 2 district. It will come with a new public road that dead-ends at the south end of the lot.

The new zoning emerged from the town’s clean water initiative as a way to prod developers to enhance stormwater protections on new projects, reducing contaminated runoff into Malletts Bay. Employing stormwater infrastructure such as rain barrels and non-impervious pavement increases the lot coverage allowance under the new regulations, potentially to 100 percent.

Gintof’s application shows lot coverage on the three-acre parcel at 30 percent with most of the land conserved as open space. Whether enhanced stormwater techniques are employed on the property will be the subject of discussion at the board’s hearings, according to Colchester planning and zoning director Sarah Hadd.

“It is exciting to have a proposal under the new zoning,” she said.

Gintof lives in the neighborhood but has not followed the details of the zoning changes.

“I’ll learn a lot about it [at the Sept. 28 hearing] as far as what the town is looking for,” he said.

Signature Properties is based in Essex. Gintof has never developed real estate in the Malletts Bay area.

“The current owners are retiring and wanted to sell the property,” he said. “It’s a nice, flat spot. The best use is a nice little cluster of homes.”

Gintof is encouraged by the success of a similar lakefront development on Marble Island Road.

“They are townhomes with house-like features,” he described. “There is quite a bit of demand right now from empty-nesters looking to downsize and get into this type of model.”

The homes are nearly adjacent to the town-owned lakefront property off Blakely Road that is under consideration as a town park.

“The proximity to everything will be a big thing,” Gintof said. “You’ll be able to walk to Bayside Park and all the amenities as they add to them.”