Scarborough Planning Board OKs bank, tables Haigis Parkway plan

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SCARBOROUGH — Biddeford Savings Bank received Planning Board approval Monday for a new branch on U.S. Route 1, while a first step at new development on Haigis Parkway remains on hold.

Approval came quickly for the new bank and a coffee shop near the intersection of U.S. Route 1 and Hannaford Drive after developers provided copies of Maine Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection permits needed to construct the separate buildings totalling about 5,300 square feet on 2.5 acres.

A request to build the entrance to a retail area near the intersection of Payne Road and Haigis Parkway was set aside by the Planning Board for lack of details about the nature of retail development and lighting at the site.

Thomas Greer of Portland-based Pinkam & Greer Consulting Engineers sought approval of an entrance from Haigis Parkway, about 400 feet from the Payne Road intersection, because the DOT permit issued for the entrance two years ago will expire next month without some construction.

“I can’t say I’ve ever had a site plan with no buildings approved,” Greer said about the application, but did present a conceptual master plan for retail spaces of  10,600 square feet and 3,500 square feet on behalf of Saco developer Mike Scarks.

Planning Board Chairman Allen Paul and board member Cory Fellows agreed the application for an entrance without definitive plans was extraordinary.

“I certainly can’t remember a request like this in the time I have been on the board,” Fellows said.

The drawings Greer presented showed the entrance with both left- and right-turn lanes out of the shopping plaza. But those intentions could be short-lived because a median strip might be extended on Haigis Parkway in three to five years, according to Assistant Town Planner Jay Chace.

Greer said eliminating the left-turn option does not pose a problem, because it was more critical to show prospective tenants what a site could look like.

“It is the first step in marketing the site,” he said.

The DOT has permitted two possible entrances along Haigis Parkway, with state oversight needed because of traffic density. Greer said the preferred entrance is at 400 feet from the Payne Road intersection, instead of 650 feet, because one of the buildings is closer to the edge of the property line.

The concept plan links the retail area to the existing First Look Plaza. Greer said similar lighting would be used, but Paul said any approval for the site would come with specific conditions regarding future development.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.