Planning Board gives initial OK to new Brunswick Landing business

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BRUNSWICK — The Planning Board on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a new convenience store on Bath Road near the entrance of Brunswick Landing.

The 5,100-square-foot project , which includes an eight-terminal C.N. Brown gas station and Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through, is part of a wider 19-acre common development plan approved by the board earlier this year.

The proposed gas station would be directly across Bath Road from the Merrymeeting Plaza shopping center, and will connect to Allagash Drive.

Developers hope to begin construction in early April 2015, with an opening planned next summer.

Because its siting will require a new traffic signal and turning lane on Bath Road, the project will require approval from the Maine Department of Transportation, according to Tom Saucier, an engineer who designed the development for C.N. Brown. 

Developers and MDOT will anticipate the entire build-out of the area when they discuss traffic issues, Saucier said.

The project also includes creating 1.6 acres of new impervious surface and will require a storm-water permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, he added. 

The gas station is at the western end of a three-parcel development that will lead up to the main entrance to Brunswick Landing at Admiral Fitch Avenue. A cut-through from the avenue, the main traffic artery, will connect the parking lots of all three parcels. 

A new bank and office building are expected for the remaining two parcels, according to Jim Howard, president of Topsham-based Priority Real Estate Group, which owns the lots.

Town staff and board members have raised concerns that the gas station might be used as a shortcut from Bath Road to Allagash Drive, which is meant primarily as a east-west bicycle route through the former U.S. Navy air base.

“Ultimately, this is going to be a way into the base,” board Chairman Charlie Frizzle said. “Maybe not the most convenient way for a lot of people, but they will use it from time to time.”

Anna Breinich, director of Planning and Development for the town, said the entrance was not designed to be a “permanent access” to Brunswick Landing.

Because of the concerns, developers are working on traffic calming measures to reduce the likelihood people will use it as a cut-through between Brunswick Landing businesses and Bath Road, Saucier said.

 He also doubted the gas station would end up being a popular alternate route.

“If you’re going to use this entrance, its because you’re going to the convenience store or to get fuel,” Saucier said, noting that most people will still connect directly to Admiral Fitch Drive to get to other parts of Brunswick Landing.

Board members approved a sketch plan for the project, but still need to sign off on a complete design. 

Outside the meeting, Priority Real Estate’s Howard said the developers intend to bring final plans to the board in January. Proposals for the bank building are also expected to be submitted to the town early next year. 

The total common development plan involves up to eight new professional buildings clustered around the entrance to Brunswick Landing. Overall, the development is expected to cost an estimated $20 million. 

The first of the new buildings, a veterinary clinic on Admiral Fitch Avenue, was approved by town staff in August and is under construction. 

“It moved slowly the last 18 months to get the common development plan approved, but now that its done, we’re ready with a bunch of customers,” Howard said.

Peter L. McGuire can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or Follow him on Twitter @mcguiremidcoast