WESTBROOK — It was a busy year for the Westbrook Planning Board in 2018 and City Planner Jennie Franceschi expects 2019 to be no different.
“It is a very exciting time,” Francheschi said.
Over the course of 18 meetings in 2018, the board held 33 public hearings and 39 workshops and weighed in on eight land use amendments, five site plan amendments, one zoning amendment, five site plans, a subdivision amendment and a number of other site plan/subdivison or conditional use matters, Chairman Ed Reidman said in his 2018 report to the City Council.
Looming large on last year’s agenda were the first and second phases of the Rock Row mixed-use development, an 80,000-square-foot Market Basket and associated retail, and the Maine Savings Pavilion, respectively. Both were approved and additional phases and a contract zone amendment to allow more density and less interior setbacks will go before the board this year.
Franceschi said 2018 also saw the approval of the first two medical marijuana caregivers under the city’s new ordinance at 155 Warren Ave., a 10,000-square-foot expansion by CCB Construction Services at the 5-Star Industrial Park on Bradley Street, the redevelopment of Holly’s Gas Station on Main Street, a 135,000-square-foot expansion at Idexx, an outdoor patio at 33 Elmwood and two proposals from Mast Landing to expand with a beer garden by the brewery and a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at 600 Saco St.
The Planning Board also did a number of “ordinance cleanups,” Franceschi said.
“When you have an opportunity to try to bundle changes and amendments, its the most efficient way to move that kinds of stuff forward,” she said.
The city had “a moderate year” for residential growth in 2018 with 158 new housing units approved, including 91 senior citizen housing through Westbrook Housing, 43 single-family homes and 25 multi-family homes.
Deputy City Clerk Ashley Rand said in terms of commercial growth, the clerk’s office issued 15 new business licences to eight food service operations, one food truck, one tow truck operator, one taxi operator and one massage therapist. Another 33 businesses that did not require licensing submitted sole proprietor paperwork.
Next month’s Planning Board meeting, set for Tuesday, March 5, is an indicator of the busy year ahead, Franceshi said. At the meeting, the board will hear proposals to develop sites all over the city.
Among the items on the agenda are workshops on the Frog and Turtle’s request to expand on to a second floor at 3 Vallee Square and a workshop on Coastal Road Repair’s request to construct and then move into a 10,000-square-foot office building at 590 Bridgton Road. Also scheduled is a proposal from JB Brown & Sons to construct a 40,000-square-foot warehouse on 15 Saunders Way to go along with the 60,000-square-foot warehouse that was recently completed. Half the building is being used by Maine Beer Company. There also will be another workshop on the Cumberland Woods proposal, a 60-unit multi-family development pegged at 625 Cumberland St., a stone’s throw from Congin School.
The board is set to act on Regional Transportation Program’s plans for a new headquarters on Ledgeview Drive, the relocation of a Central Maine Power control house at 369 County Road and Sappi North America’s plans regarding the demolition and removal of the powerhouse and two spillways by the Saccarappa dam and modifications to the bedrock to create fish passage at the falls.
Aside from the development proposals at Rock Row and in other sites across the city, Franceschi said the planning and codes enforcement office will be busy in 2019 monitoring the construction of Market Basket and the Maine Savings Pavilion, as well as the remaining work with Saccarappa School and the Idexx expansion.
Michael Kelley can be reached at 780-9106 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mkelleynews.