WESTBROOK – A proposal for a 14,800 square-foot Walgreens pharmacy with drive-thru and an adjacent 8,000 square-foot retail building is currently being discussed by the town’s Zoning Commission.
According to the statement of use, the project would redevelop the Cumberland Farms property located at 1211-1223 Boston Post Road near the town center by removing the former concrete slab of the Westbrook Post Office, existing structures of the former Tom’s Super Saver Gasoline Super Station, the Cumberland Farms building, Sal’s Pizza, a liquor store, and two vacant stores.
Robert Novak, Jr., an engineer from the developer BL Companies, presented several New England designs at the Zoning Commission meeting, according to July 25 minutes, with architecture that would fit naturally with surrounding buildings.
About a month previous to that, according to minutes from the June 19 Planning Commission, Novak said the architecture would feature clapboard type siding with gables with a more Colonial look than the original brick.
At the July 25 Zoning Commission meeting, Novak said a lease has been with Walgreens as the anchor tenant but no tenants have signed on for the second building.
When commission member Robert Hagemeister asked if a restaurant could be considered for the second building, Novak said it was proposed, the developer would return with plans for a smaller building, would present to the Planning Commission a redesigned parking lot with a new circulation plan, and would have to demonstrate the septic would work.
While the second building may get built in the future by BL Companies, Novak said it will not get immediately built.
BL Companies is proposing a pedestrian path allowing access between the Boston Post Road sidewalk, the pharmacy building, the retail building, and Trolley Road.
The project includes a proposal to relocate the traffic signal on Boston Post Road to an area in front of the main entrance for the new redevelopment, according to July 25 minutes.
Two entrances are planned onto the property from Boston Post Road as well as a “right turn only” access onto Golf Links Road, which would be the designated exit for vehicles leaving the drive-thru.
June 19 Planning Commission minutes stated that Novak told members the radius of the exit onto Golf Links Road would be tightened up “so that signage and geometry will make a left in or left out nearly impossible.”
Novak said they plan to initiate a 2-way traffic system around the town green and prohibit left turns northbound onto Route 1, according to July 25 Zoning Commission minutes.
Many spoke up at the meeting concerned that those visiting town center businesses would be unable to return north on Route 1.
The proposal comes at a time when the developer expects a proposed Stop and Shop to be built close to the Walgreens and expects that developer to complete town center improvements.
According to developer BL Companies, in its May 19, 2006 Project Design Report, each retail building at 1211-1223 Boston Post Road will have its own septic system and a Westbrook sanitarian on August 4, 2005 determined that the soil conditions are acceptable for these systems.
A traffic study in May 2005, showed traffic on Route 1 in front of the Cumberland Farms property is 50 trips during weekday afternoon peak hour and 65 trips on Saturday midday.
With the proposed development, BL Companies expects the number of trips to rise to 150 trips on weekday afternoon peak hour and 138 trips on Saturday midday.
The report states there are no wetlands or watercourses on the site and the nearest watercourse is Town Center Brook, 65 feet west of the property.
Town regulations have designed a small portion of the southwest corner of the property as a regulated wetland buffer, the report states, but the developer believes there will be no negative impacts of the project within the Coastal Area Management
The developer said no retaining walls are required and all necessary grading can be achieved without having to get grading rights from property abutters, according to the report.
According to July 25 Zoning Commission minutes, Hagemeister read a July 20 letter from the Planning Commission which advises reviewing the truck loading area.
The area, according to the minutes, “requires very precise maneuvering, crossing the path of the drive-up window and the Golf Links Road entrance/exit.”
According to the July 17 minutes, the Planning Commission advises the developer “re-evaluate the lighting and reduce the intensity of the bulbs to achieve more even light across the parking lot; to consider a darker shutter to break up the expansive of the side of the building, and that there be cross easements for parking, lighting, and maintenance of the shared parking area.”
Novak assured the Zoning Commission members that pharmacy’s hours of operation would not exceed 10:00 p.m. and that unsuitable material from the former gas station will be excavated during initial stages of construction.
The Zoning Commission will continue the public hearing regarding the 1211-1223 Boston Post Road proposal on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Mulvey Municipal Center Multi-Media Room.