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City of Bangor collaborating with developers to build tiny home community

Real estate developers bought an underutilized piece of property, wanting to create new affordable housing options.

BANGOR, Maine — The Martel Mobile Home Park in Bangor could see some major changes in the coming months.

The City of Bangor is working with real estate developers who purchased the property, hoping to create more affordable housing options.

Louie Morrison and his partner Luke McCannell are wanting to use the land to create a tiny homes community.

The plan is to build 37 tiny homes to rent or resell. While a number of lots are empty or have abandoned mobile homes, only a quarter of the lots on the property are being used, according to Morrison.

The City of Bangor is currently working to approve planning and zoning regulations for the project. The process is expected to take two months and could be completed by the end of October, according to the City of Bangor  Director of Community and Economic Development Tanya Emery. 

RELATED: Bangor could be home to Maine's first tiny home community

"That's something our planning staff is looking at right now — what are the pros and cons, and what are the best options to make sure we get the best results?" Emery said.

Emery said the city must get planning and zoning approval and run it by departments like Public Works, the Sewer Department, and partners at the water district prior to the start of any construction.

If the property requires a zoning change, it would need to be approved by both the Planning Board and city council, according to Emery. 

However, if the planning and zoning regulations are allowed in the existing district, it would not need a zone change, therefore, only needing approval from the Planning Board.

Once the zoning regulations are in place, construction is permitted.

"I really feel once this gets going, I can build a couple of these a month," Morrison said.

For the people currently living in mobile homes on the land, Morrison said he has no intentions of forcing them out. Rather, they can stay living in their homes or have a brand new tiny home.

"Even if it's a mixture of older homes and brand new homes for a while, they [current residents] seem like it will be a good thing," Morrison said.

In the coming days, a contractor will remove ten abandoned mobile homes from the park with a truck that arrived on site Thursday morning. Morrison said prior to building each home, they must dig each water and sewer line and replace them to newer standards.

RELATED: Federal funding will convert hotel, motels into housing for those most in need

The city is hoping this will have a real impact for those looking for affordable housing.

"It starts to create a lot of available units, and that's the kind of scale that we need to really start to address the housing crisis," Emery said.

Morrison said he's been working with some assistance programs and veterans housing programs. Rents could be as low as $600-800 dollars for people with assistance or as much as $1,500 for people without assistance. Morrison said that range will change depending on the building costs.

This is a multi-million dollar project, according to Morrison, but he said it's "well worth it."

If the city approves the planning and zoning regulations by late October, Emery is anticipating a tiny home or two will be built before winter.

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