POLAND — The $2.3 million plan to upgrade and expand the the town's Fire-Rescue Station on Aggregate Road is on hold following a determination that the project would violate zoning restrictions protecting nearby Waterhouse Brook.
Code Enforcement Officer Nick Adams told selectmen at Wednesday night's meeting that he could not issue a building permit for the project.
“You have two choices. You can go to the Zoning Board of Appeals or the town can vote a change (at a town meeting),” Adams said.
Adams' refusal to issue a building permit puts the town in a tight spot.
The town has a signed contract with P. M. Construction of Saco which calls for work to begin the middle of November.
Fire-Rescue Chief Mark Bosse told the board that the intent was to break ground before winter.
“All is ready. I need your help, your guidance,” Bosse said.
“If we don't start construction until spring, I don't know how that will affect the contract,” Selectman Larry Moreau said.
Selectmen, after some discussion, agreed that the best course would be to call a special town meeting.
The timetable devised by selectmen working with interim Town Manager Rosemary Roy calls for Planning Board review of the proposed zoning change on Tuesday, Nov. 13. Selectmen will meet Wednesday, Nov. 14, to approve a warrant article calling for a special town meeting on Thursday, Nov. 29.
Selectmen were hopeful that a two-week delay would not jeopardize the project.
In discussions about how the town had come to find itself in its present quandary, it was noted that the project developed from a study undertaken more than three years ago which found the existing station inadequate in a number of areas.
Town officials were aware that expansion of the station, because it is so near to Waterhouse Brook, would require a zoning change.
To that end, town officials brought a zoning amendment before the April 2011 town meeting. That amendment passed, leaving officials to believe they had removed the land affected by the stream protection district.
Only recently did it become evident that the effort to change the zoning had apparently missed the mark.