Boothbay Harbor Waterfront Preservation’s site plan review was tabled June 10. Project architect Mitchell Rasor of MRLD Landscape Architecture + Urbanism introduced the plans which include a grocery store, two single family dwellings, a splash pad, a marina and public and commercial access to the water.
As Maine Department of Environmental Protection reviews the project, Rasor said a form of conditional approval from the planning board would allow the project to begin immediately when DEP grants approval. However, board chair Tom Churchill pointed out only complete applications can be considered and because the DEP approval is not yet in hand, the board must wait before taking a vote.
Board members also had concerns about issues including handicapped parking, details on parking layout parallel to Atlantic Avenue, potential splash pad water runoff into the harbor and light pollution. Rasor wanted to iron out the details that meeting.
“We are currently in compliance with the (town's) site plan review ordinance,” said Rasor. “So far, everything you've had questions or concerns about are on the plan and in the ordinance, so I'm afraid to move on so quickly without addressing them.”
Churchill said he did not want to go through ordinances line by line to explain why certain aspects of the project may or may not work. “We've expressed the concern and that's what we're here for tonight and that's to address issues. We want to bring our concerns to you so that you can go back and work on them.”
Member Bill Hamblen and Churchill explained that even if a plan appears to fulfill all requirements and meet ordinances, that still has to be determined by the planning board which interprets all regulations. Concerns would need to be addressed at a later meeting, whether involving changes to the plan or a well-prepared defense of not making a suggested change, they said.
Said Hamblen on parking issues, “Leave it where it is, submit a piece of paper that says you think it's OK for the following reasons, cite sections of the ordinance that you believe in and we'll either agree with that or disagree with that.”
Footbridge Brewery co-owners Nick Ullo and Dan Pangburn were granted an amendment for more outdoor seating. Ullo said the extra seating will help with on-site business rather than forcing them to continue take-out sales which are proving to be unsustainable.
Said Ullo, “(It would) allow people to sit at a table outside in the sun and ... in this time of pandemic and social distancing, (the amendment would) allow us to open our brewery earlier and to stay in business.”