Planning board to Wiscasset: seek Mason Station’s consent on road issue

Boothbay couple’s preschool proposal needs more paperwork
Posted:  Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 8:00am
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The Wiscasset Planning Board decided Monday, the town needs to seek Mason Station LLC’s consent if it wants a new lot at the Point East Subdivision. The town wants to create it from tax-acquired lots and sell it to a growing Wiscasset technology business. Peregrine Turbine Technologies’ owner David Stapp said Tuesday, he’s looking around town for a backup plan.

“I think the conveyance of the building is in question given the need to have concurrence from Mason Station, LLC.  We are looking at a few options here in Wiscasset as alternatives in case this transaction is unsuccessful,” Stapp writes in Tuesday’s email response to the Wiscasset Newspaper’s request for comment.  “It's evident that the town is still supportive of our plans to manufacture our product and create good-paying jobs here.  We'll keep working toward a solution.”

Monday night, the planning board reviewed an email from town attorney Mary Costigan of Bernstein Shur in Portland. The board had sought the legal opinion last month, when the town asked to combine parts of two lots for the new one. Peregrine has proposed renovating a brick warehouse there, to assemble and test the turbine for a turbine-powered generator.

“I hate to see projects stall,” member Deb Pooler said. Member Al Cohen said it is a weird situation, because the building is in the right-of way. Land surveyor Steve McConnell, again representing Wiscasset, cited Costigan’s email when he addressed the board.

The email states the town can consent to a section of right-of-way being included in the new lot; but it adds, it would be prudent to get other property owners’ written consent. Stapp has four parcels in the subdivision. He consented in a letter Monday. Board members directed Town Planner Ben Averill to have town staff seek Mason Station’s consent, as well. The company lost most of its lots on the peninsula due to back taxes but kept the former plant.

“There’s one way to get to Mason Station, and that’s right past the front of this building,” member Karl Olson said about the warehouse Peregrine has eyed.

The issue was one of two Monday night where the board found it needed more information to decide on a request. The other involved a Boothbay couple’s proposed preschool and after school center at the former NAPA store on Route One. The board told Kim Hilgendorf, the proposal still needs the State Fire Marshal’s OK; and if she and husband Michael Hilgendorf, owners of Lighthouse Learning Center in Boothbay, want the board to consider waiving a required, surveyed site plan, they need to ask in writing. Averill said the Hilgendorfs, who hope to open the Wiscasset location this fall, filed a hand-drawn plan.

Member Al Cohen said he wasn’t inclined to waive the requirement, given the planned use for the property. “I’m not trying to be hard-nosed, but you’re talking about 49 kids,” Cohen told Kim Hilgendorf. The couple is seeking a state license to serve up to 49 children.

An architect is drafting plans that will meet the Fire Marshal’s requirements, Kim Hilgdendorf told the board. The Fire Marshal cannot approve the site until the roof is replaced and other upgrades happen, she said. The sale has not closed as escrows are being arranged for work the site needs, she said.

Also Monday, the board set a site walk for 3:30 p.m. Thursday, May 11, on River Point Road in the Clark’s Point Subdivision off Old Sheepscot Road. Clark’s Point Development LLC wants to further develop the subdivision for single-family homes. In November 2016, the board approved other updates to the subdivision.

Near the meeting’s close, member Deb Pooler said she had really wanted to attend that night’s meeting on the state’s downtown project. The board plays an important role in the community, Pooler said. Olson said the state says it doesn’t need the board’s approval on the project. Averill suggested if any members want to join the committee, they could come to a meeting and ask.