The College is working with the Brunswick Town Council, Planning Board and town residents to negotiate the zoning of the former Stevens Retirement Home on Harpswell Road for use as a dormitory next year.
Situated directly across from the Brunswick Variety and Deli, the building would be used in its present layout after some cosmetic renovations. Twenty-five to thirty students would live in doubles and singles in the converted dorm.
If the zoning permission goes through, renovations could begin as early as this summer. The College expects that the dorm could be in use for the 2013-2014 academic year, possibly as a chem-free dorm given it is situated in a residential neighborhood.
There is also talk that the large backyard of the house could be used as a new site for the Bowdoin Organic Garden.
“We’re at the very beginning stages,” said Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Katy Longley. “This was a property that came on the market that seemed to be in a good geographical location for the College, given our other property holdings.”
The feasibility of a change between “congregate living” and “college residence” zoning will “depend on what the Planning Board thinks,” said Brunswick Town Councilor Benet Pols.
“Some things are purely regulatory. They have to deal with the consistency of the ordinance and whether the change is appropriate given the overall makeup of the neighborhood,” Pols said. “The other issue that always comes up in these situations is what the neighbors feel about the change.”
At a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, Brunswick residents who live nearby the Stevens Home expressed concern over noise and parking, but were open to further discussion regarding zoning.
Brunswick’s Planning Board will meet on February 26 to discuss the zoning change.