False door gets building around Brunswick regulation

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BRUNSWICK — A proposed dental office on Baribeau Drive will have a fake door, with the Planning Board’s blessing, to get around town regulations.

The board last week also initially approved an application from the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority for a seven-lot subdivision at Brunswick Landing.

The dental office was tabled at the Planning Board’s May 12 meeting, after the board found the project to be in “extreme violation” of Cook’s Corner Design Standards that apply to the Medical Use Overlay Zone.

Under the standards, the building must have a customer entrance facing the street. The design submitted by the applicant, Smiling Sailboat Holdings, had an entrance facing its parking lot.

In a May 26 email, Town Attorney Stephen Langsdorf confirmed that all Cook’s Corner Design Standards must apply to every project within the Medical Use Overlay Zone.

Town staff continued to review the project and recommended the board approve a waiver for the design standard describing entrances on one condition: that the applicant construct a “faux” entrance on the building side facing Baribeau Drive.

The solution came after Smiling Sailboat informed staff that complete redesign of the building would be cost prohibitive.

In a letter to Town Planner Jeremy Doxsee, the applicant wrote that “to change the floor plan … would create an insurmountable economic burden and would force us to pursue other economically viable locations.”

“We would have had to relocate all of the treatment rooms,” Michael Scholl, of Smiling Sailboat Holdings, said last week. “We’d have been bringing the entrance into a private portion of the building where it wouldn’t be appropriate to have folks walking in.”

But the Planning Board on May 27 was pleased with the staff recommendation, and unanimously granted the waiver to Scholl.

“(The new design) clearly addresses every component of the regulation,” board member Soxna Dice said.

Scholl provided the board with a picture of the front of Downeast Credit Union in Topsham, which has a false entrance facing Route 201, to illustrate what the dental office could look like.

“(The photo) makes the building look more inviting without misleading or confusing people,” board Vice Chairwoman Margaret Wilson said. “(It) very much addresses the concerns that I had.”

Scholl estimated the new design might cost at least an additional $10,000, but he called the waiver in exchange for the false entrance a “fair compromise.”

Brunswick Landing

The Brunswick Landing land already has three buildings: New England Tent & Awning, Frosty’s, and a vacant structure. Three of the new lots will be clustered around the existing buildings, and four will be accessed by a new road off Orion Street.

The former naval base falls under Maine Department of Environmental Protection storm-water requirements, so the existing permit will have to be amended to account for the new impervious area.

Project Manager Jan Wiegman told the board the best solution for storm-water treatment would be to use porous pavement and a subterranean filter structure to treat the infiltration.

The Planning Board voted unanimously that the sketch plan was complete.

After the meeting, MRRA Property Manager Bob Rocheleau said he imagines that other small businesses, like Frosty’s, will move in to fill the new space.

Walter Wuthmann can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or at wwuthmann@theforecaster.net. 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.