2017-11-09 / Local

Public hearing set for Pine Street discontinuation proposal

BY JULIETTE LAAKA
Times Record Staff

BRUNSWICK

A Bowdoin College request to discontinue a portion of Pine Street met with some resistance from the Brunswick Town Council Monday night, though there were enough votes to move the plan to a public hearing.

The council voted 6-2 to proceed to a public hearing, with councilors Steve Walker and John Perreault in opposition. Councilor Sarah Brayman was absent from the meeting.

The vote did not constitute approval for the road discontinuation.

Bowdoin is preparing to embark on the second phase of the Whittier Sports Complex improvement plan, which includes construction of a new support building.

The first, $4.5 million phase of the project included replacing the existing grass field with artificial turf and adding lights, seating and a new press box, along with an expansion of the current six-lane track to the eight lanes required to host championship track meets.

According to Bowdoin's treasurer, Matt Orlando, the request for a discontinuation of a portion of Pine Street will allow for more flexibility for the construction of the planned 9,000- square foot support facility that will house locker rooms, bathrooms, and a training room.

Neighbors on Bowker Street requested the building not be constructed on their side of the field, he said. Wishing to honor that request, the college has shifted its focus to build it on the Pine Street side of the field. The Pine Street apartments have a limited number of years left, Orlando said, and that site could eventually be developed as a parking lot.

If the road is discontinued, Bowdoin College would pay for the construction of an access road to Bath Road and Pine Street.

Should the college’s plan be denied, Odlando said the college would likely return to looking at Bowker Street sites. That option, he said, would upset residents in the neighborhood.

A Pine Street resident wrote to Councilor Jane Millett that she was not in favor of allowing the discontinuation of the street. “ I love my neighborhood as it is,” she said, adding she feels the plan would be unsafe.

The hearing on the issue will be held Nov. 20, although some councilors voiced concern at the date being too near the holiday as well as what they deemed to be a rushed process.

Walker said he would not vote in favor of filing the order, adding he was shocked and taken aback at how the plan was presented to the council — without conceptual plans, or a hearing on the matter with the planning board and neighborhood involvement. He called the lack of preparedness a misstep by town staff to not have the plan vetted by the Planning Board before it came to the council.

The Planning Board will still need to review the plan and vote to approve it if it is to proceed.

jlaaka@timesrecord.com

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