Presque Isle Planning Board passes NAPA project site plans after lengthy discussions

7 months ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Members of the Presque Isle Planning Board reviewed proposed project site plans for a National Automotive Parts Association building during its meeting on Thursday, Sept. 14.

The NAPA project site plans were presented by Tim Roix, representative from B.R. Smith Associates in Presque Isle. The site is 221 Main St., where the city’s former outdoor pool was located.

Planning board members voted for a conditional approval for the NAPA Project site plan to include a 75-foot buffer zone divided into a 65-foot grass zone to be cut at three and half inches high and a 10-foot strip with a berm.

Low-lying plantings near the berm will prevent contaminated run-off from entering Kennedy Brook. Another condition was to leave the current curb cut entrance in place and install a Knox box — an emergency key box — on the side of the new building to give access to the Presque Isle Fire Department.

Representative for B.R. Smith Associates Tim Roix presents the NAPA project site plan review located at 221 Main St. during the Planning Board meeting at City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 14. (Paul Bagnall | The Star-Herald)

“When I talked to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in Augusta, what they recommended is that you do not have any snow storage in the grass areas because it will eventually saturate the ground waters and that’s where it can cause issues of contamination,” said Galen Weibley, Presque Isle economic and development director.

Neal Griffeth, who owns 221 Main St., wants to turn the property into a commercial building with two pieces of the NAPA building to be used for warehouse storage and retail sales, plus some offices, bathrooms and staff parking.

On the south side of the property is the Griffeth Ford car dealership and on the east side is Kennedy Brook that wraps around to the north of the property. The proposed NAPA building will be set back 75 feet away from Kennedy Brook, Roix said.

There were three issues with the NAPA project site plan review. One was the Maine Department of Environmental Protection wants trees planted on both sides of Kennedy Brook to provide a canopy to prevent algae growth.

Planning Board chairperson Bruce Roope suggested that grass cut at three and half inches would be enough to slow down storm water runoff into the Kennedy Brook and trees would do nothing to stop it. Presque Isle Planning board member Jayne Farrin did not see a need for trees either.

“When we get these flash storms of water that cuts through these drainages we have on these farms and it slows down when it gets to the grass, but when it gets to those trees it’s straight on through,” Roope said.

Best management practice would have an impervious surface for the snowmelt to go into a catch basin directly into the stream and dilute the groundwater to prevent soil contamination, Weibley said.

“I think we can all do better and I think we are doing better by staying back 75 feet, taking the pavement out, putting the grass in and taking the buildings out,” Roix said.

The Maine Department of Transportation recommended the existing curb cut leading to the old outdoor pool site be eliminated, and installing a road from the proposed project site to Griffeth’s auto dealership lot that would connect to Main Street. Farrin advocated for keeping the curb cut.

The updated plans will be sent to the Economic and Community Development Office to be reviewed before the Planning Board members are called into City Hall to sign off on the updated plans.