Falmouth Planning Board approves Norway Savings Bank Rte. 1 relocation

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FALMOUTH — The Planning Board voted unanimously Tuesday to grant conditional approval to Norway Savings Bank to relocate to 266 Route 1, the site where a vacant Mobil service station now stands next to the Foreside Tavern Restaurant.

Norway Savings Bank Chief Financial Officer Brian Shibles said the service station will be torn down, and he expects the new bank to be ready to open in 2011. When the new bank opens, the branch at the Shops at Falmouth Village will close.

In other action, the board approved two administrative action items:

• Re-approval for an 8,000-square-foot commercial building at Tidewater Village on Clearwater Drive. The building would be a center for teaching and learning about sustainable agriculture and horticulture through University of Maine Extension programs and degree programs offered by Southern Maine Community College. The Tidewater Conservation Foundation is currently raising money for the building and has applied for Community Development funds to pay for the $2-million education facility.

• An amendment for a fill permit for rock removal at 380 Route 1. A permit was issued in 2006 for blasting to take place between January 2007 and August 2007, but the site work was not completed.

Norway Savings Bank agreed to put funds in escrow or a performance guarantee so that at least 200 feet of sidewalk can be built from the bank to Route 1 and to the intersection of Bucknam Road. Senior Planner Ethan Croce said the town of Falmouth’s long-range plan is to extend sidewalks parallel along Route 1 and Bucknam Road.

Lee Allen, vice president of Northeast Civil Solutions, said the bank did not want to construct the sidewalk now because it would be “a sidewalk to nowhere with liability issues.”

Also, the intersection at Route 1 and Bucknam Road is expected to be reconfigured in the future.

Christopher Bakkila, of Platz Associates in Auburn, agreed that outdoor furniture and curbing could be included on the side of the building where a colonnade is planned, in keeping with the town’s effort to create public spaces.

The Board granted a waiver from a 10-foot buffer to 6 feet on the sides and 7 feet at the rear. The applicant agreed to a fill depth of 2 feet so that plantings would have adequate space for root development.

The Board also granted a front setback waiver.

The Board of Zoning Appeals determined last month that the lot where the new Norway Savings Bank will be built does not have street frontage and therefore has no front lot line. Therefore all property lines are considered side lot lines.

Additionally, the applicant agreed to widen the entry and exit drive and to install a planter between the entrance and exit lanes.

Landscape architect Rachel Sunnell, of Gawrow Turgeon Architects, explained that the bank will make improvements and include plantings in the Maine Department of Transportation right-of-way abutting the bank’s property.

The Board did not give approval for signs.

Board member Rebecca Casey said she would consider serving on the Long-Range Planning Advisory Committee, since there is currently no one from the Planning Board on that committee.

The next meeting of the board will be held April 13.