The Gardiner City Council and Planning Board are holding public hearings Wednesday to review whether the city should rezone two lots next to Libby Hill Business Park to allow Everett J. Prescott, Inc. to expand its footprint beyond the city’s business park.

The city included the proposed zoning change, from rural to planned industrial/commercial, in the new comprehensive plan approved by councilors last year. The proposal councilors will review Wednesday is only for changing two lots on North Street, not all of the rezoning recommended in the comprehensive plan.

The Planning Board public hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, and the council meeting is set to begin at 6 p.m.

The city’s Ordinance Review Committee has already started work to implement the sweeping zone changes recommended by the plan, but the entire process will likely take a couple of years, said Patricia Hart, a city councilor who also serves as chairwoman of the plan committee. The rezoning will be done piecemeal, starting with the outer-Brunswick Avenue area, Hart said.

The CEO of the waterworks distributor headquartered in Gardiner, Peter Prescott, and the company’s president, Steven Prescott, requested the Planning Board and Comprehensive Plan Review Committee include the zoning change at a meeting last April. Nate Rudy, director of economic and community development for the city at the time, recommended that the committee and board include the requested change in the plan because he said the company is unable to expand within the business park. Rudy said at the meeting that the company planned to use the two lots largely for displaying products.

Steven Prescott, Peter’s son, said the company would use the main entrance in the business park to access the lots and not enter on Prescott/North Street, which has one residence on the other side of the street.

Jason Griffiths, who lives across the street from the North Street lots, told councilors at their meeting Feb. 25 that allowing the company to expand to those lots would affect his family’s quality of life and his investment. He bought the house in 2006 after that section of the business park had already been built.

Griffiths told councilors he has been trying to sell the house for almost a year, and people at five of six showings said they wouldn’t buy it because of the location of the business park.

“Now you put this warehouse or something across the street, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to move,” he said.

Griffiths and the Prescotts weren’t available for comment Monday.

Wednesday will be the first time councilors review the rezoning proposal. If they approve it Wednesday, they’ll hold a final reading on the change at their meeting two weeks later, said City Manager Scott Morelli.

Also on Wednesday’s agenda is a request from the owner of a Partridge Drive property to extend the deadline for constructing a house on the lot, a condition the city set when it sold the property to Linda Adams in 2013 for $5,000. Adams is requesting councilors extend the deadline from March 27 to Sept. 1.

Morelli said he’s recommending councilors exercise the city’s option to buy back the land and any improvements for $1 once Adams misses the March 27 deadline. If they want to extend the deadline, Morelli said he’s recommending councilors require Adams to pay the city $3,090, the amount the city would have collected in taxes if a house valued at at least $150,000 was completed by the deadline, as required in the purchase agreement.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @paul_koenig


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