Bath Planning Board OKs 3rd amended business park decision

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BATH — The Planning Board approved a third amended notice of decision on Tuesday for the third phase of the Wing Farm business park.

Although the board approved a second amended notice last month, it had not added one clause as another condition of approval. That clause states that whenever applications associated with development of lots in phase three are filed for approval in West Bath, a copy of the application and plans must be provided to the Bath Planning Department for review and the chance to comment.

All board members in attendance approved the new notice, except for Paul Fraser, who recused himself, and John Swenson, who did not vote since he is new to the board.

The Planning Board also voted to sign an amended subdivision plan to be recorded in the Sagadahoc Registry of Deeds. The West Bath Planning Board must do the same. The matter must also again go back to Sagadahoc County Superior Court Justice Andrew Horton for review.

Although the Bath Planning board originally approved the third phase in April 2010, a lawsuit filed in Sagadahoc County Superior Court by Robert and Wendy Johansen the following month convinced Horton to remand consideration of the third Wing Farm phase to the Planning Board.

Fraser recused himself because the Johansens’ attorney, Jenny Burch, represents him, too.

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

While the 25-acre, nine-lot third Wing Farm phase is an expansion of the business park and will be built in West Bath, all the road impact will be in Bath. Bath’s approval has been necessary because 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 has been improved to facilitate the third phase.

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

Wendy Johansen reported Sunday that Harry C. Crooker & Sons construction company trucks had delivered and spread dirt along the south side of King’s Highway on April 26, despite Horton’s ruling last December temporarily blocking any city action involving that access road.

Planning Director Jim Upham said on Tuesday that Bath’s attorney in the Wing Farm case, Patrick Scully, asked him about the work after Scully heard about it from the Johansens’ attorney. Upham said he spoke with the town clerk in West Bath – which is the project applicant for the third Wing Farm phase – who did not know anything about the work, but drove to the site and spoke with Crooker workers.

Upham said the clerk found that the workers “were, in fact, doing some work on the sidewalk part of this roadway that is in Bath.”

Upham said that later that day, Richard Hornbeck – attorney for West Bath in this matter – spoke with Ted Crooker, who said he had authorized the job because he had a crew that needed work to do.

Hornbeck said on Tuesday that Crooker said he was unaware of the judge’s order, and that he knew his company had a contract to do the work eventually, and that it was grading the gravel so the surface could ultimately be paved. Wendy Johansen said no paving had occurred.

Hornbeck said he told Crooker not to do any work on that site, at least in Bath, and that Crooker opted to postpone all work there so that it could ultimately be done all together.

Crooker could not be reached for comment.

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.