FARMINGTON – The Planning Board voted unanimously to approve Rite-Aid’s site review and flood hazard development applications Monday.
The approval included resolution of concerns about the lighting around the store sign and a better plan for pharmaceutical storage during potential flooding as the site on the Intervale is within a flood zone.
The project includes a 14,670-square-foot building with 65 parking spaces and a two-lane pharmacy drive-through to be built at the location of C.N. Brown, the Farmington Diner and an empty building between them on the Intervale.
Materials presented by Bret Poi, survey and site engineer for the project, and Scott Vlasec, architect, proposed that in case of flood warnings pharmaceuticals would be moved to the closest Rite-Aid facility, which would be Livermore Falls. Rite-Aid, Poi said, does not believe in just storing items higher than predicted flood levels.
Board member Thomas Eastler voiced concern in regard to when flood warnings are issued and that they are given for the western mountains or Franklin County. Once a potential flood around the Intervale area is determined, there would not be time enough to move the items or even time to get a vehicle out, he said. Once ice blocks back up around the bridge, there is no time – many feet of water per hour have no where else to go but over the proposed site.
Eastler volunteered to work with Rite-Aid to develop the a plan. Poi said he had spoken with Franklin County Emergency Management to see if other businesses had a model that Rite-Aid could follow but was told there was not one.
Other issues addressed by the developer and landscaper following the June meeting included landscaping around the building, revision of a large, lighted sign close to the road and the buildings’ architecture. The board had also asked to view more than one option and samples of materials to be used.
Poi and Vlasec met with Town Manager Richard Davis and Code Enforcement Officer Steve Kaiser following the June meeting and looked at other buildings around the downtown area.
They presented new plans Monday for more shade trees and perennials around the entrance and sign, as well as a landscaped island next to the building.
Vlasec presented two options for the architectural design to the board. The first was based on the previous design with modifications on the window size and a granite-like material for the pillars on the front of the building.
For the second option, Vlasec said, Rite-Aid wanted to stay with two materials for siding rather than an all-brick exterior as suggested at the previous meeting. This option gives more prominence to the main entrance and the brick-like material would look more like the brick used throughout downtown Farmington.
The four windows on the front would be smaller and have the same appearance even if they were a false window. Residents raised concerns about the aesthetic appearance of the windows at the last meeting.
The board voted 5-2 to accept the second option.