WATERVILLE — The Planning Board on Monday approved final plans for about 44 community raised bed gardens with a 31-space parking lot for Alfond Youth Center at 121 North St.

The community gardens will be built across North Street from the Alfond Center on property the center bought and where it demolished a house. Children at the center would learn how to garden there.

The board reviewed the plans under the city’s site plan review and subdivision ordinance and approved the plans with conditions including that the developer get a curb cut permit from the city’s public works department, a Maine Department of Environmental Protection approval for storm water treatment and erosion and approval from the city’s code enforcement officer for erecting an 8-foot-high privacy fence. All of those conditions must be met prior to construction, according to the board’s conditions.

Planning Board members Jessica Laliberte and Tom Nale abstained from voting; board members Bruce White, Lauren LePage, Scott Fortin and Chairman Paul Lussier approved the plans. Member Mark Champagne was absent from the meeting.

Nick Champagne, representing A.E. Hodsdon Engineers, of Waterville, said the gardens would be 4-by-8-foot raised beds and the parking area would be 10,000 square feet and include 31 spaces. Champagne is a former Planning Board chairman and son to Mark Champagne.

He addressed neighbors’ concerns which included that light not spill onto nearby properties and that drainage be properly handled. Champagne said the developer is looking for solar panel lights that would have no electrical connection and can be placed on timers to turn off an hour or so after dusk. He said the lights are very dim and the developer does not anticipate a lot of traffic or activity on the site after hours.

Don and Rachel Paradis, owners of North Street Dairy Cone, had expressed concern that if manure is used as fertilizer it would produce an odor while people are eating ice cream outside. Champagne said he spoke with the Alfond Youth Center maintenance director who reported they would not use foul-smelling fertilizer.

Laliberte said she would not want to eat ice cream and smell manure.

“They’re not wanting to have a big pile of manure sitting in their parking lot,” Champagne said of the Alfond Center.

J. Michael Talbot, a resident of nearby Lantern Lane, said the neighborhood is in the city but has privacy because of existing vegetation and he would hate to see the area stripped of that. He also was concerned about lighting.

“I just think having lights there would just be that more inviting for people to use that year-round,” he said of the parking lot.

Neighbor Tom York said he would like the area to remain wild but things are not growing well in one place because of dead trees from so much standing water that kills them. He said he was glad the developer will clean that area out.

City Planner Ann Beverage asked for a statement as to whether the intent is to use the parking lot only seasonally.

“The Planning Board needs to make some kind of statement with that,” she said. “The parking is only allowed because of the gardens. It’s a residential zone.”

The board also approved final plans for three storage buildings to be built at the intersection of Webb and West River roads. The project is being proposed by Tim Millett.

George Courbron, of SurveyWorks, Inc., of Greene, represented the project. At the board’s June 5 meeting he said plans call for three storage buildings at 140 by 24 feet, 130 by 24 and 120 by 24. The buildings would have 30, 28 and 26 units, respectively, according to Courbron.

The board on Monday also considered an informal preapplication for a 20,000-square-foot building proposed for Penny Park at 295 Kennedy Memorial Drive by 295 KMD LLC.

The project is proposed by park owner Bill Mitchell. No vote was needed on the informal plan. The building would be constructed behind an existing building in the park.

“It’ll be a combination of office space, medical office, and maybe light retail,” Mitchell said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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