Planning board approves Jarden access road, expanded parking

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Wilton Planning Board approved a permit application from Jarden Plastic Solutions for a new Pleasant Street employee-designated entrance. A 98-space employee parking lot will be built to the left of the building. 

WILTON — The Planning Board voted unanimously Thursday night to approve Jarden Plastic Solutions’ application for an employee entrance and expanded parking lot on the condition that employees not use Railroad Street.

The board also recommended the selectboard change Railroad Street to a ‘No Through Traffic’ road and have the Road Committee consider sidewalks on Temple Road to Pleasant Street.

Nearly a dozen residents voiced safety concerns about the plan at a public hearing before the board’s decision.

A tightly-constrained parking area and single Mill Street entrance are shared between employee and delivery truck traffic, plant manager Jason Holman said.

The 98-space parking lot is intended to separate employee parking from truck and plant operations traffic. An employee-designated entrance will reduce vehicle trips on Mill Street but will increase traffic on Pleasant and Temple streets.

Holman said employee traffic would be prohibited on Railroad Street, a narrow cross street.

“My number one priority is for the safety of the employees. Right now, our entrance and parking lot is a safety concern,” Holman said.

Between 40 and 60 vehicles would enter and exit the plant during shift changes, which occur twice a day between 6:30-7:15, he said.

“Your priority is to keep your employees safe, mine is to keep my children safe,” Pleasant Street resident Tammy Mayhew said.

Children use Pleasant and Temple streets to access a bus stop, she pointed out.

Road Commissioner Rhonda Irish said a pedestrian light could be installed in that area.

Irish said her recommendation would be to go before the select board to put a ‘No Through Traffic’ sign on Railroad Street, which Jarden would pay for. Other recommendations included additional signs along new travel routes, and to request Maine Department of Transportation lower speed limits on part of Pleasant Street.

Resident Mark Lake asked how a ‘No Through Traffic” sign would be enforced.

“If it were posted it would mean the Police Department can enforce the issue. If people are seeing employees traveling on Railroad Street, they can let me know and we can address it with Mr. Holman,” Irish said.

Members of the Police and Fire departments said it was a hazard to have just one entrance to the plant, Irish added.

“The job of the Planning Board is to make sure the zoning ordinance is followed,” Chairperson Mike Sherrod reminded the group. “All we can do is decide if applicants have adequately addressed the requirements of the ordinance. This law is actually voted on every couple of years by the town of Wilton.”

The board’s decision can be appealed to the Appeals Board, Sherrod said.

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