WATERVILLE — The Planning Board on Monday got a look at informal plans for a 75-bed dormitory at Thomas College off West River Road that the board next month will review under the city’s subdivision and site plan review ordinance.

Vinal Applebee, director of permitting for The Sheridan Corp., of Fairfield, said the three-story residence hall would be built east of the administration building on campus, on what is now a field hockey field. The project calls for 75 parking spaces.

“We are looking to break ground late this summer,” Applebee said.

He and Richard T. MacKenzie, principal of Construction Consulting of Maine, of Oakland, said the plan is to have the building ready for occupancy in the fall of 2017. The building would be steel-framed and of brick masonry, Applebee said.

“It will be very similar to some of the buildings on campus now,” he said.

He said officials anticipate that, trafficwise, there would be 16 trips at peak hours, for a total of 169 in a day — about one trip per bed, he said. A landscaping plan calls for planting two rows of trees on the west side of the building, according to Applebee.

In other business, the board voted 6-0, with one abstention, to recommend to the City Council that 222 College Avenue be rezoned from Commercial-C to Commercial-A to meet setback requirements for KSW Federal Credit Union to build an addition for more office space.

Planning Board member David Geller abstained from voting, saying he was conflicted about the project. Before his comment, he said he opposed the idea of spot zoning.

“I’d like to state my continued aversion to spot zoning when it simply is to benefit the landowner,” Geller said.

Jim Coffin, of E.S. Coffin Engineering and Surveying, presented an informal preapplication plan for a 2,160-square-foot addition to KSW.

Coffin said he knew the request would require spot zoning, but there are other properties on College Avenue that are spot-zoned to Commercial-A.

“We feel it’s the best solution to our problem without buying land,” Coffin said.

Board member Paul Lussier agreed, saying he is familiar with the property. Chairman Nick Champagne asked about emergency access on the site. Coffin said he could send the plans to the fire chief and then forward his response to the board. Geller asked whether Coffin had run the plans by the chief, and Coffin said he had not.

“If the board recommends the council rezone to A and the council rezones to A and the chief then says, ‘I don’t like the plan — I need full access,’ it’s a moot point anyway,” Geller said.

Lussier said there’s “no doubt the chief wants 360-degree access.”

“My point is, there are very few other buildings that have access on three sides,” Lussier said. “I don’t think he’ll have a problem. I’m not speaking for him but … our job is to determine if it makes sense and push it down the line.”

Champagne opened the floor for a public hearing on the proposal for recommendation to the council, but no one asked questions or commented.

Board member Bruce White moved to approve recommending to the council to rezone to Commercial-A, and Jessica Laliberte seconded the motion. White; Laliberte; Lussier; Champagne; his father, Mark Champagne; and Scott Fortin voted in favor. Geller abstained.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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