NEW GLOUCESTER — Selectmen signed a warrant Monday for a special town meeting asking voters to support the town’s efforts to promote a village orientation of Upper Gloucester with revisions to the town’s zoning standards that support a master plan for the area on Route 100.

The meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at AMVET Post 6 Hall on Route 100.

In addition, voters will be asked to amend the town’s zoning ordinance to include a new Upper Village Zoning District.

Voters will also be asked to move the holding of the annual town meetings from Monday evenings to Saturday mornings. The annual town meeting is presently held at 7 p.m. on the first Monday in May. Selectmen said they will leave the decision to voters.

In other business, selectmen approved by a 4-to-1 vote locating a new Public Works garage at 611 Lewiston Road, on the same lot as and behind the New Gloucester Fire/Rescue Station.

A 10-member Public Works design committee in the past month studied nine possible sites, which included the current location of the town garage and salt shed, but unanimously recommended locating the future new Public Works facility at 611 Lewiston Road.

Civil engineer Paul Miller’s firm, Oakpoint Associates of Biddeford, was contracted by the town to determine the best location to site a new Public Works department.

The selection was based on a preliminary evaluation of nine potential sites identified by the committee, which resulted in three locations on Route 100 being chosen for further consideration.

Oakpoint Associations, a consulting engineering/architectural firm, reviewed available information and performed site visits evaluating each site on 11 different suitability criteria. The 611 Lewiston Road site not only scored significantly higher than other properties, but also was rated as “good” or “excellent” on all parameters showing it to be an excellent location for this type of development.

The 611 Lewiston Road site has good sight distance; site grades are relatively flat, mostly high and dry. It is centrally located, large, well-buffered and noise is less of a factor.

Selectman Stephen Hathorne voted against the location, concerned about the amount of petroleum and salt and its risk to a large aquifer below the site. Part of the lot is considered ground protection overlay district, but the designation, said former Planning Board member Jim Fitch, is due to the need to protect the aquifer that is in a downhill direction from the lot.

State-of-the-art conditions will help control sediment and all vehicles and fuel will be kept in an environmentally safer method than they are currently.

The future funding for the garage will be determined after design work is completed and the project will go to voters for approval in the future.

According to a capital request, the design/build construction for the facility is estimated at $3 million.

The existing Public Works garage is inadequate to serve current and future needs. It has serious structural and operational issues, exposed workers to health risks and has potential to cause environmental problems.

A capital request to fund the new facility states that delaying action will only result in the existing problems growing more severe, and building a new garage will only get more expensive with the passage of time, according to Town Planner Will Johnston and Public Works Director Ted Shane.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.