Brunswick Planning Board reverses staff, tables plan for dental office

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BRUNSWICK — The Planning Board Tuesday tabled an application for a dental office on Baribeau Drive.

The board found the proposed project does not comply with town design standards.

The proposal submitted by Smiling Sailboat Holdings is for a 5,000-square-foot office building with a 33-space parking lot. The lot is in the Residential 4 Zoning District, within the Medical Use Overlay Zone.

Because the site is in the overlay zone, it must conform to the town’s Cook’s Corner Design Standards. These standards are meant to balance the needs of “motorists and pedestrians, retailers and residents,” in mixed-use areas, according to the town’s 2002 design guidelines.

The design standards look at features like lighting, parking, and architecture.

Town Planner Jeremy Doxsee told the Planning Board that staff had reviewed the developer’s application and found it “appropriate.”

“There were multiple layers of regulations that had to be looked at,” he said.

Board Vice Chairwoman Margaret Wilson, however, found the site plan to be in “extreme violation” of the Cook’s Corner design standards.

She said that because the building plan did not include an entrance facing the street, it did not meet the standards.

Doxsee said staff believed the plan “meets the spirit and intent of design standards,” and felt comfortable approving it.

But the argument did not sway the board. “If it’s the law, it’s the law,” board member Soxna Dice said.

Chairman Charles Frizzle agreed. “I can’t come up with any other solution other than to table (it)” until the design complies,” he said.

Dice also questioned other aspects of the application, including a line from a memo from the consulting engineer, Sebago Technics, requesting additional details on the storm-water management plan.

“I’m not comfortable with (this) condition … this is major,” she said.

Doxsee said such language was routine in site applications. “It sounds to me like you don’t trust professional staff,” he said.

“We’re trying to find a balance between the developer’s need to build during the building season, and the (town’s),” he added.

In the end, board members unanimously tabled the application, until the site design meets the Cook’s Corner standards, and until additional details, like a traffic study, are available for review.

After the vote, Frizzle apologized to the applicant, Michael Scholl of Smiling Sailboat Holdings.

“We’re sorry we missed this,” he said.

Walter Wuthmann can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or Follow Walter on Twitter: @wwuthmann.

Brunswick/Harpswell reporter for The Forecaster. Bowdoin College grad, San Francisco Bay Area native. Follow for municipal, school, community, and environmental news from the Midcoast.