AUGUSTA — Concerns about the new consolidated courthouse planned for Winthrop and Court streets revolved around parking and materials Tuesday.

The city’s Planning Board questioned architects and others representing the Maine Governmental Facilities Authority, which is seeking approval of a major development application for a new four-story 120,000-square-foot courthouse.

At 9:50 p.m. Tuesday the courthouse project was approved with some conditions, the largest of which is that the architects and designers return within six months with samples of materials and colors to be used on the exterior of the building.

The building will be sited between Winthrop and Court streets and connect to the existing Kennebec County Courthouse.

It will consolidate both the Augusta District and Kennebec County Superior courts as well as other state court functions situated elsewhere in Augusta.

Peter Anderson, an architect with PDT Architects, brought a sample of brick, synthetic stone and metal panels that would be used to face the building. He said efforts have been made to obtain the brick locally, but finding the correct gray color to coordinate with the existing 1830 building has been difficult.

Several board members asked that the building’s colors blend in better with the existing courthouse.

Board member Linda Conti said a modern-looking building would be jarring to the neighborhood.

The new building’s third floor would be connected to the second floor of the existing county courthouse.

Al Palmer of Gorrill-Palmer Consulting Engineers, said 93 parking spaces would be created on site, and the courts are working with the Augusta Parking District to lease an additional 80 spaces within 1,000 feet of the building.

“These would be new rather than existing spaces,” Palmer said.

Matthew Pouliot, the board’s vice chairman, said he lives in the neighborhood and is concerned about parking for the new building.

Sarah Witte, landscape architect with Terrence J. DeWan & Associates, said the site itself proposed a significant challenge.

“You just almost never see such a steep hill that is being programmed for such an important building,” she said. The slope on Winthrop Street is 17 percent, she said.

Witte said the solution was to terrace the area and create a series of large steps along the hillside.

Palmer said a timeline calls first for relocating the older water lines, then putting utility lines underground, then demolishing the existing buildings on the site.

He said occupancy would occur in 2014.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

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