AUGUSTA — The Maine National Guard’s plan to build a $30 million, nearly 100,000-square-foot headquarters building on Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery property in north Augusta goes to the Planning Board Tuesday for discussion.

The Guard plans to move some operations and many of the people it now has at Camp Keyes, next to the Augusta State Airport, to the proposed Joint Force Headquarters. The Army and Air Guard headquarters would be built on 43 acres of the adjacent 165-acre Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery property.

The proposal is the subject of an informational presentation at Tuesday’s Planning Board meeting, which begins at 7 in council chambers at Augusta City Center.

The federally funded project on state land needs the same local approvals and permits a private project would need, according to Lt. Col. Dwaine Drummond, director of facilities and engineering for the Maine National Guard. In this case, that means it will need to undergo a major development review by planners, as a conditional use in the city’s Planned Development District.

The project is expected to start in 2015 and be complete in 2018.

Tuesday’s hearing will involve only an informational presentation on the project, with a review of the formal application expected later.

“In this case, we do have to go through the same permitting processes as any other,” Drummond said. “We like to be a good neighbor and cooperate. This is the initial phase, of informing the board as to the scope of the project, so they get a feel for it.”

Under the proposal, the guard would build a two-story, 99,800-square-foot building; a 287-space parking lot; a 134-space parking lot for military vehicles; a gatehouse; access drives; and other improvements at the now-undeveloped site.

People would get there from a driveway to the cemetery. That driveway, according to application materials filed with the city, would be moved to align with Darin Drive on the opposite side of Civic Center Drive. That new intersection would be designed and built by the state Department of Transportation and include a traffic signal, according to the application materials.

As part of the move, about 300 employees — most of the headquarters staff — would move from Camp Keyes. More industrial, visible functions such as vehicle maintenance would remain at Camp Keyes.

Drummond said many buildings now used by the headquarters staff at Camp Keyes are old and hard to maintain and heat. The new headquarters would meet current building, fire and Americans with Disabilities Act codes.

It also would meet security and anti-terrorism standards, with larger setbacks that can’t be accommodated at the existing headquarters at Camp Keyes.

Planners also are scheduled to hold public hearings about:

• a major development review of a conditional-use proposal from Moody’s Collision Centers Inc. to redevelop two lots on Powhattan Street into an auto repair facility;

• a minor development review of a Central Maine Power Co. proposal to expand a substation at 26 Commerce Drive;

• a conditional-use application from Alison Ames to construct a house in the shoreland zone at 9 Coon Island. The house would replace a house that was a nonconforming structure and was destroyed by arson;

• a minor development review of a Greater Augusta Utility District proposal to install a new underground water tank at 1 Hard Rock Road, just off Civic Center Drive; and

• a request to rezone 140, 151 and 157 Capitol St. from the Business Professional District to Regional Business District.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]

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