LIVERMORE FALLS — Planning Board members voted Wednesday to approve a site-plan-review application to restore and improve the 1887 Lamb Block building on Depot Street.
Planning Board member Bruce Adams, whose propane business office is a tenant in the building, abstained from voting.
Mellette Pepin, who was elected chairwoman of the board earlier in the meeting, told project representatives that the application was “awesome.”
Adams was elected vice chairman of the board.
Developers Collaborative Predevelopment LLC of Portland, which is acting as authorized agent for Lamb Block Associates, proposes to buy the building from Kenny and Petrah Jacques of Livermore Falls. Both entities are controlled by developer Kevin Bunker.
The plan is to develop a mixed-use commercial building.
Bunker said Wednesday he was still waiting for HealthReach Community Health Centers to finalize a deal to become an anchor tenant in the Lamb Block. It would occupy the entire third floor and part of the second floor. Retail spaces would be on the first floor and some office spaces on the second floor.
Bunker and Rick Dunton, project manager for Main-Land Development Consultants Inc. gave an overview of the project and the application to the board.
Bunker said he plans to make a portion of the space between the Lamb Block and the Chuck Wagon Restaurant into a so-called “pocket park.”
The building will be restored as close as possible to its post-Civil War status. Bunker will use historic preservation tax credits to make the project possible.
He is hoping he can get a bakery and coffee shop to take one of the first-floor storefronts, but nothing is imminent, he said.
The parking lot will be reworked to fit 27 vehicles, including two handicapped spaces. The travel aisle through the parking lot will connect to the parking lot of the Androscoggin Valley Medical Center, which is owned by the hospital, Dunton said.
Planning Board member Robin Beck asked if street aesthetics could be incorporated into the project.
If there is way, Bunker said, he would try to do it, but there is no room for trees, bushes or planters in front of the building or on the other side, which will be taken up by the parking lot.
“I want to make the downtown look better,” Bunker said.
He plans to re-point the bricks on the building, among other restorations.
The entrance into the parking lot from Depot Street will be moved 20 feet closer to the Livermore Falls Water District lot, Dunton said.
One on-street parking space will be removed but another one added to the opposite side where the sidewalk will be extended.
The project is tailor-made to fit the town’s Comprehensive Plan, he said.