Cumby's expansion gets final approval from planners

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BRUNSWICK — The Planning Board approved a final plan to redevelop the Cumberland Farms gas station at Cook’s Corner into a larger, upgraded station and convenience store.

The vote by the four members present was unanimous, with board member Jeremy Evans absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

An existing Cumberland Farms station and convenience store, as well as a Papa John’s restaurant and an AT&T store, now occupy the 50,960-square-foot corner parcel, all of which will be demolished to make way for an expanded filling station and market.

The project is part of the company’s ongoing effort to upgrade and remodel Cumberland Farms and old Gulf Oil stations with state-of-the-art systems and a more stylish, current look.

MHF Designs project engineer Chris Tymula was unable to say when the demolition and construction would begin, saying the time line depends on when Cumberland Farms puts the project out to bid, and when bids are returned.

Cumberland Farms is the only gas station at Cooks Corner.

In addition to a new look – which Planning Board members said they were excited to see during a sketch plan review in August –  the number of filling stations will increase to 10 and housed under a white-and-green-striped canopy, behind which will be an expanded convenience mart. 

Two, 20,000-gallon underground storage tanks will replace three, 8,000 gallon tanks.

Chairman Charles Frizzle described the parcel as oddly shaped because it sits at the busy intersection of Bath Road, Thomas Point Road and Gurnet Road.

Because of the configuration, at an August review of the project sketch plan, some Board members said they were worried about the traffic flow and requested a traffic analysis. 

Rebecca Brown of Greenman-Pederson presented the analysis, which used historical collision data and future traffic projects to find that the new development would result in fewer overall trips to the site. Brown found that none of the prior on site collisions were a function of unsafe traffic flow or planning.

She said that while the new Cumberland Farms will contain more filling stations, traffic will decrease because three businesses will no longer be sharing one parcel.

While there were hardly any major changes from the sketch plan, Tymula said his team modified designs around the perimeter to encourage safe traffic patterns as drivers made their way in and out of the busy intersection.

As examples, he cited the reorientation of signage to increase driver visibility and the addition of a raised, 25-foot island to direct traffic as drivers make a left-hand turn into the parcel.

Frizzle commended these and most other design efforts, which he characterized as Tymula’s honest efforts to fit a “square peg into a round site.”

Aesthetically speaking, he said the site would be “a significant improvement from what we have now.”

Callie Ferguson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or cferguson@theforecaster.net. Follow Callie on Twitter: @calliecferguson.

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Reporter on the Brunswick/Harpswell beat. Proud Bowdoin grad that you can find reporting on municipal, school, and community news, or inside the many coffee and sandwich shops around the Midcoast. Callie can be reached at 207-781-3661 ext. 100.