Wednesday, December 11, 2013
AUGUSTA — A zoning change for a Maine Department of Transportation proposal to move heavy equipment and vehicle maintenance operations from Capitol Street to a new Industrial Drive site goes to city councilors today.
City and state officials say the move would allow the state to consolidate operations at a more modern, larger facility while freeing up the in-town 9-acre Capitol Street site near the State House for private, potentially tax-generating development.
For the $10.5 million relocation project to move forward, the city would need to re-zone part of a 19 Meadow Brook Drive site from the Rural River District to the Planned Development District so the DOT could use it and to allow access to it from property at 66 Industrial Drive that the DOT expects to buy soon.
The Planning Board recommended the zoning change in a recent unanimous vote despite the concerns of some neighbors about traffic and noise that the change could generate.
Mike Burns, regional manager for DOT, said the state hopes to move out of its Capitol Street site, where its 35,000-square-foot building was built in 1920.
It would consolidate heavy equipment and fleet vehicle maintenance, as well as the DOT’s paint and sign shops and, potentially, other state offices as well, on Industrial Drive, which has a vacant warehouse on it, and at a 55-acre Meadow Brook Road site.
The site would be reachable only from Industrial Drive, Burns said, and the department would resell part of the land closest to Meadow Brook Road, which has a home on it. The portion of the lot to be sold would remain in the Rural Residential District.
Burns said the facility rarely would operate at night, and it would not be home to plow and sand trucks operating at all hours.
“This is a repair facility, not a garage where snowplowing is done from,” Burns said. “This is a daytime operation 99 percent of the time.”
The proposal goes to councilors for a first reading — two are required — at their meeting, which begins at 7 tonight in council chambers at Augusta City Center.
Councilors also are scheduled to:
• hold a public hearing and consider renewing a liquor license for Shenanigan’s;
• consider approving one-year contracts with Teamsters locals representing police supervisors and general government, as well as a proposed 2 percent wage adjustment for non-union employees;
• consider accepting $4,121 in funds seized by police in a criminal case; and
• consider applying for a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response $500,000 grant.
Keith Edwards — 621-5647