New police station nears final approval in Brunswick
BRUNSWICK — The Village Review Board on Tuesday unanimously approved an application of appropriateness for the police station proposed for the corner of Stanwood and Pleasant streets.
Kris Hultgren, the town planner, said this was the next-to-last step in the approval process that has lasted nearly three years.
Hultgren said the Police Station Building Committee indicated it could submit a plan to the Planning Board as soon as Tuesday, Sept. 4. That would place the plan for review on the board's Sept. 25 meeting – the final step needed before the Police Station Building Committee starts the permitting process.
"It's possible that on Sept. 25 they will be done with development review," Hultgren said.
The new police station needed the approval of the Village Review Board, the town planner said, because the proposed site is in a historic zone and the proposed plans must maintain the character of the surroundings.
Brett Donham of Donham & Sweeney Architects, the firm selected by the Police Station Planning Committee to design the building, presented a series of sketches, drawings and photos at Tuesday night's meeting to assure board members that the new police station would maintain the historical feel of the zone – even though some of the surrounding buildings, like a Cumberland Farms gas station, do not.
Donham presented photos of the Curtis Memorial Library, the U.S. Post Office on Pleasant Street and the former Longfellow School on Longfellow Avenue as positive examples to emulate.
"These three buildings constitute the desriable standard for the surroundings," Donham said.
Board member Janet Roberts questioned the signs proposed for the new police station. She said current plans would make it almost exclusively visible from the wrong way of Pleasant Street, which becomes a one-way street at the police station's proposed location.
"If you drive the wrong way down Pleasant Street, you'll see where it is," Donham noted.
The architect said he would take the observation into consideration, but he also offered that the presented plans were not final.
Stemming from Roberts' observation about the signage, Ed Knox, a member of the Police Station Planning Committee, said the town should consider implementing a sign that would better help direct visitors driving up Pleasant to the downtown area on Maine Street.
"I think that's a very interesting observation. It's hard to know whether you're going left, right or straight ahead," Donham said.
In response, board member Elizabeth Marr suggested that the idea should be brought up in the next meeting for the Master Plan Implementation Committee.