Bath Planning Board approves amended business park decision

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BATH — The Planning Board unanimously approved a second amended decision concerning the third phase of the Wing Farm business park.

The planning boards of Bath and West Bath must now sign an amended subdivision plan to be recorded in the Sagadahoc Registry of Deeds. Bath Planning Director Jim Upham said he expects the city’s board to sign it May 3.

The matter must also again go back to Sagadahoc County Superior Court Justice Andrew Horton for review.

Only four members of the board – Bob Oxton, Jim Hopkinson, Andy Omo and John Swenson – took part in the less-than-five-minute discussion. Since it was Swenson’s first meeting, he did not vote on the matter.

Tuesday’s discussion was continued from the board’s March 15 meeting, where the panel mulled new conditions on the project to be included in the amended notice of decision.

The board originally approved the third phase a year ago, but a lawsuit filed in Sagadahoc County Superior Court by Robert and Wendy Johansen caused Horton to remand consideration of the third Wing Farm phase to the Planning Board.

Horton ordered a second remand of the case after a hearing last December in West Bath District Court.

The 25-acre, nine-lot third Wing Farm phase is an expansion of the business park and will be built in West Bath. However, all the road impact will be in Bath. Bath’s approval has been required since water and sewer lines will run along about 350 feet of King’s Highway. That formerly unpaved road starts in Bath and leads to the lots to be developed in West Bath, and it was improved to facilitate the third phase.

The Johansens’ 520 Centre St. property does not abut the third Wing Farm phase, but it is within 100 feet of two lots of that phase. Centre Street leads into Wing Farm Parkway and King’s Highway.

One of the Johansens’ concerns has been the impact of the King’s Highway work on wetlands. But in its amended notice of decision, the board stated that “the property is not within (250 feet) of an area identified in maps either by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wilife or the Bath Comprehensive Plan. This property is not within (1,320 feet) of a deer wintering area or travel corridor and does not include important habitat areas identified in the Comprehensive Plan.”

The notice also states that West Bath obtained a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit that states the project will only have “‘minimal individual and cumulative impacts on waters and wetlands.'”

The Johansens have also expressed concern that the project does not have connectivity to any other street system. Wendy Johansen has said she hopes for a second and possibly third access road.

The board stated in its notice that “Anchor Road should be improved to function as an emergency exit from the Subdivision in the event egress is not available over Centre Street.” It calls for that requirement to be a condition of approval of the road running from Bath into the project.

The Johansens have also expressed concern about traffic growth caused by the development of the second and third phases. The notice states that a Maine Department of Transportation traffic movement permit for the project, approved last May, requires turning movement counts to be made at the intersection of Centre Street and Congress Avenue to determine when a traffic signal is needed.

The board in its notice also calls for painted “stop bars” far enough back from the intersection, once a signal is in place, to avoid stopped vehicles interfering with turning trucks.

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.