Harvey seeks powerline from Cressey Road

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Harvey Performance Company, based in Rowley, Massachusetts, manufactures high performance machine tools. The owner of Helical Solutions, it plans to expand in Gorham.

GORHAM — Requiring additional information and a site walk, the Planning Board Monday postponed its review of Harvey Performance Company’s request to  build a plant at the former horse racing track on Narragansett Street.

The board is asking for more details about electrical service, which Harvey wants to access through a powerline that would pass over the Gorham bypass to Cressey Road. It also had questions about landscaping and the appearance of the buiding.

The company, based in Rowley, Massachusetts, is asking approval to construct a manufacturing facility in two phases. The company has outgrown its current Gorham plant, Helical Solutions in the Gorham Industrial Park.

The proposal is the first under new standards for the Narragansett Development District. The project is also the first proposed development at the old track.

“It looks like a great development,” said Planning Board Chairman George Fox.

Harvey manufactures high performance machine tools. Steve Vatcher, vice president of operations, said Monday the company has a good relationship with the town and it wants to retain its employees.

The company introduced the project to the Planning Board in January when it had 80 employees at its Helical plant. “We’ve been growing very rapidly,” Vatcher said this week. “We want to stay in Gorham.”

The project’s first phase calls for a single-story building with 76,887 square feet and 172 parking spaces. Phase 2 plans are for an addition with 30,000 square feet and 115 parking spots. Harvey is proposing the project on 13 acres of the large, former racetrack property owned by Moody’s Co-Worker Owned Inc.

Before the Bernard P. Rines Bypass (Route 112) sliced through it in 2008, the old racetrack was bounded by Narragansett Street (Route 202) and Cressey Road.

Harvey’s project will be reached by a 1,300-foot access road from Narragansett Street. But it is seeking a closer option to extend industrial electrical power by passing over the bypass from Cressey Road. The electrical line would be placed underground once at the Harvey site.

Zoning in the district requires underground utilities. Shawn Frank of Sebago Technics, project engineer at the site he called the “trotter field,” told the Planning Board the cost for installing underground power to the Harvey site from Narragansett Street would run to $300,000.

“We were shocked,” Shawn Moody of Moody’s Co-Worker Owned said at Monday’s meeting.

Moody said the cost to extend power from Cressey Road would be $32,000. The Planning Board wants input from Central Maine Power.

Following the meeting, Moody said passing over the highway would require Maine Department of Transportation approval. He said he has talked with the DOT and he’s optimistic permission would be granted.

Harvey’s architect, Dana Watts of SMAA in Cambridge, Massachusetts, displayed concept plans for the plant Monday. The manufacturing portion of the building would be 24 feet high.

Planning Board member Michael Richman wants rooftop mechanical units obscured from view. The Planning Board is also asking for additional input about landscaping.

Town Planner Tom Poirier said Tuesday a site walk could be set for the middle of next week.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 780-9089 or email [email protected]