Topsham planners OK 2 building proposals at mall

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TOPSHAM — The Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously approved site plans for two projects at Topsham Fair Mall.

Topsham L&K I has proposed a multi-tenant retail/restaurant building at 79 and 85 Topsham Fair Mall Road, two lots to the southwest of Panera Bread and northeast of Best Buy that are being combined as one, 4.73-acre property.

The site is undeveloped, consisting of woods, brush and a steeply sloped ravine with a wetland, according to a Sept. 9 memo to the Planning Board from Assistant Planning Director Carol Eyerman.

The project has received a Maine Department of Environmental Protection permit for filling about 1,730 square feet of wetland, Eyerman said.

Space for as many as three tenants would be provided in the single-story, 8,000-square-foot building, and 42 parking spots would be built.

Tuesday’s other applicant, Topsham Fair Mall, has proposed a retail/commercial building across the street at 86 Topsham Fair Mall Road, to the southwest of Woody’s Performance Center.

A single-story, approximately 11,000-square-foot building will be constructed on the approximately two-acre parcel, according to a Sept. 10 memo from Planning Director Rod Melanson to the Planning Board. Sixty parking spaces are included.

“The major focus of the review is on the traffic impacts going to that intersection,” Melanson said last week. “So there’s been quite a review on all of that.”

Aside from the types of uses planned for the site, tenants for the buildings have not yet been identified, he said.

Both projects went before the Planning Board for site plan approval in July, but town staff and the board noted concerns about traffic from both proposed projects, and asked both applicants to submit revised plans.

The two applicants met with planning staff and their own consulting engineers prior to the meeting to discuss improvements at that intersection, and peer review engineers were also involved, Melanson said.

The traffic pattern from Park Drive to Best Buy, passing by the new developments, will be reduced to three lanes – two lanes with a center turning lane – in order to slow vehicle movements, making it safer and allowing pedestrian movement across the street. The pavement will remain the same, but the lanes will be re-striped, Melanson said.

An existing intersection – with roads that lead from Topsham Fair Mall Road into Panera and Woody’s, respectively, and from which the two new developments will be accessed – will be improved. The entrances from Topsham Fair Mall Road into the developments will be aligned so that they line up and increase functionality, Melanson said.

With approvals in hand, both projects are ready to obtain building permits from the town’s codes office, Melanson said. Construction at 86 Topsham Fair Mall Road is due to conclude next spring, while a schedule for the other project was not announced, he said.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A multi-tenant retail/restaurant building is planned at 79 and 85 Topsham Fair Mall Road in Topsham (southwest of Panera Bread), along with a retail/commercial building across the street at 86 Topsham Fair Mall Road, to the southwest of Woody’s Performance Center.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.