A contentious proposal to redevelop more of the former Elmcrest Psychiatric Hospital, across the river from downtown Middleton in Portland, has been temporarily shelved amid a dispute between the developer and town officials about how much retail space the site could absorb.

According to The Hartford Courant, Dan Bertram of BRT Properties told a crowded public hearing last week that his team was withdrawing a plan for 110 new apartments and 70,000 square feet of retail, in addition to a pair of 4-story apartment buildings BRT and co-developer Bright Ravens are in the process of building now.

At the core of the dispute: Locals’ hopes to have a development create a new retail-and-restaurant hub in the 10,000-person town, and Bertram’s contention that the market can’t absorb that much retail space. Instead, Bertram had hoped to get approval for only around 20,000 square feet of retail along with the apartments – much to the ire of some locals.

Once procedural hurdles are worked out with the legal team, Bertram said he plans to return with the same plan for more apartments and less retail space.