Berlin Subdivision Working Through Permit Process

BERLIN – Forty new houses undergoing the permitting process could be one small sign of economic recovery in Berlin, officials commented this week.

The developer of a subdivision on Tripoli St. was awarded wastewater service last week, as he continues to move forward with 40 new homes. The development also got a preliminary go-ahead from the Berlin Planning Commission in late November.

Dave Dombert of Main Street Homes introduced the project before the Berlin Planning Commission in October and came back at November’s meeting with minor changes to a preliminary sketch plan. The project calls for 40 homes, served by alleys, around a large green open space, with a natural planted buffer along Route 113.

“We’re taking it through the planning process so we’ll be ready as the economy improves,” Dombert said. “Our intention is not to immediately break ground.”

Much work still needs to be accomplished before the first shovel of dirt can be moved. Stormwater management, forestry requirements and a myriad of other preparatory tasks must be completed before site work can begin. The necessary approvals should take at least three to six more months, according to Dombert.

When those permits and permissions are all in hand, Main Street Homes will take a look at the economic conditions and decide whether to proceed or whether to continue waiting for improvements to the economy.

“Is that market there right at this moment? No,” Dombert said.

Dombert called the development, “a plan for the future.”

When that future will be is unclear.

“Can’t say I would start it in 2010. No, I would love to. The economy is going to dictate when it starts,” Dombert said. “We’re not going to build houses that will sit empty.”

Main Street Homes bought the property several years ago, as the new house market in Berlin began to peter out. There was also very little to no available wastewater service at that time.

While the market for new housing is completely stalled, the town now has numerous units of wastewater capacity for future building, with the beginning of an expansion to the town’s well-used wastewater treatment plant.

“When the market comes back a little bit we’ll be ready for that market…it’s a good time to try and at least get the planning portion complete,” said Dombert.