SCARBOROUGH — Support for construction of 40,000 square feet of office space off Foley Farm Road and Little Dolphin Drive was evident at a Planning Board meeting Monday, but project developer Rocky Risbara is still hoping for an accelerated timetable for getting to work.
“We are super-sensitive on timing, we want to start today, if we could,” Risbara said at the end of a 60-minute site plan review for what will become the home of South Portland-based Town & Country Federal Credit Union.
Risbara and business partner Nancy St. Clair of Cumberland-based St. Clair Associates expect to be back in front of the board Oct. 28 for approval of the project, even if a required Maine Department of Environmental Protection permit has not been granted.
Chairman Allen Paul said the board typically requires state permits to be in order before it approves a project, but added he will speak with town staff, including Assistant Planner Jay Chace, about making an exception.
The planned two-acre development is expected to be spread over five years as the credit union grows into the space. The first phase is the most ambitious, with 20,000 square feet on two floors, and an atrium that will eventually connect with a second, two-story 20,000-square-foot building.
It is expected the first phase will be home to 40 to 60 employees, according to documents submitted by St. Clair. As many as 140 employees could fill both phases of the project.
St. Clair said construction will begin as soon as needed permits and approvals are obtained, with an eye to occupancy of Phase 1 by spring. Included in the first phase of construction is parking for 73 vehicles, six retention ponds for storm-water management, widening of Foley Farm Road and Little Dolphin Parkway to 24 feet with sidewalks, and building an access road linking them.
The second phase would add 46 more parking spaces.
Planning Board approval is needed because the project exceeds the 20,000-square-foot, single-use cap in the zone. The scope of the project, design efforts to make the buildings fit into the area, and limits on impervious surfaces to improve drainage drew praise from board members.
Because of the limited lot size, the board will have to waive requirements prohibiting parking in front of the building, and the widened roads and new access road will require Town Council approval to convert private roads to municipal roads.
St. Clair said sewer and water lines will be connected near U.S. Route 1 and extended to the edge of the property, for potential connection to anticipated development to the north.
The parcel Risbara Family Development will build on is part of a 4.5-acre lot sold by Madeleine Gendron. The larger portion was bought by Dolphin Marketplace LLC for potential retail development not yet presented to the Planning Board.
The only public comment regarding the Risbara project came from William McKenney of the planning department at Hannaford Bros. Co., who said a company review of the traffic study by Bill Bray underestimates the effect of traffic on the new and existing roads.
McKenney said company traffic engineer Diane Morabito said Bray’s report does not account for future traffic projections and is off by at least 8 percent. Bray estimated the development would lead to 76 vehicle peak hours trips between 8 and 9 a.m., and 69 trips from 3:45-4:45 p.m.
A 40,000-square-foot office development to become home to Town & Country Federal Credit Union could gain Planning Board approval Oct. 28 and be built in two phases over five years.