Bath council OKs rezoning for new CVS store

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BATH — The City Council granted final passage to a land use code map amendment and contract rezoning for a CVS drug store.

The council on Nov. 5 also approved the sale of a small piece of city-owned land on Winter Street Court to resolve a code compliance issue.

CVS wants to move from the Bath Shopping Center to a 1.8-acre site on the northeast corner of Court and Floral streets. Four buildings there would be demolished to make way for the 13,225-square-foot store.

The proposal required site plan approval, granted Oct. 7 by the Planning Board, and also needed OKs from the council.

The area includes Residential 1 and Commercial 2 zones, but CVS needs a Commercial 4 zone to operate a drive-through pharmacy.

Since the new building would infringe on the setback and yard areas of the Commercial 4 zone, contract zone approval is required. In exchange for being granted the contract zoning, CVS will give the city $70,000 for improvements to U.S. Route 1, or create a deceleration lane from Route 1 into Chandler Drive.

The council on Oct. 15 voted 5-2, with Councilors Steve Brackett and David Sinclair opposed, to grant the land use code map amendment. Brackett had expressed concern that the city’s Comprehensive Plan calls for commercial buildings to be no larger than 7,000 square feet.

The panel had also voted 5-2 for the contract zone, with Sinclair and Councilor Meadow Rue Merrill opposed. That approval came with a condition stipulating that the developer and one of the neighbors to the site work with City Planner Andrew Deci on a site plan amendment. That amendment will address buffering between the northwest corner of the future CVS and the neighboring residence.

Last week, the council voted 5-3 to approve the land use code map amendment, with Sinclair and Brackett again opposed, along with newly elected Councilor Kyle Rogers. The panel voted 6-1 to approve the contract zone a second time, with Sinclair again opposed; Rogers abstained from voting.

Winter Street Court

In other business, the council unanimously approved the sale of a 480-square-foot piece of city-owned land on Winter Street Court to settle a code compliance issue.

The city acquired the parcel in 1996 to create a turnaround at the end of the street for snowplows, but it was never used for that purpose, and the Public Works director has said the city has no reason to hang onto it.

The land has been sought by two abutters: Toader Serban, who owns 12 and 14 Winter Street Court, and Andrea DiBenedetto, of 16 Winter Street Court. With the city’s permission, DiBenedetto in the mid-1990s erected a fence on the property, where she parks.

Meanwhile, a deck Serban built is too close to the property line and fails to meet setback requirements. Serban has said he wants the parcel because owning it would bring his deck into compliance; otherwise he would have to tear the structure down.

The city agreed to sell him the parcel for $500, which means he can keep the deck where it stands. And DiBenedetto is buying an easement on the property for $1,000 that will allow her to maintain her fence and parking spot, City Manager Bill Giroux said last week.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.