AUGUSTA — The Planning Board approved a proposal for a new Irving-supplied convenience store and 12-pump gas station at the corner of Riverside Drive and Route 3, across the street from an existing gas station and convenience store.

TRG Realty LLC proposes to build the new 4,350-square-foot store at 239 Riverside Drive, on 2 acres it would buy of what is now a 9-acre parking lot for an automobile dealership. Randy Hutchins, owner of the nearby O’Connor Auto Park, is listed as the applicant in the city permit application and would own the business.

Drivers would have access to the new business through an existing driveway on Riverside Drive. The business would have 26 parking spaces.

It is across the street from an existing Sunoco gas station and convenience store and Capital City Tire and Service.

Harold Elliott, a city councilor, expressed concern that the driveways to the competing gas stations and convenience stores would be directly across from each other.

“I foresee accidents happening there,” he said of the gas station entrances being across from each other.

David Latulippe, a consultant on the project, said engineers want driveways on opposite sides of a street to be lined up with each other. He said when they are offset from each other, that is when there are more accidents.

In response to concerns expressed by a representative of a Sunoco distributor,that there are already a number of gas stations and convenience stores nearby, Latulippe said during peak traffic motorists probably will go to the business on the side of the road they are on, rather than cross traffic to go to the other side.

“The customer is going to decide,” he said.

The number of competing businesses nearby is not among the factors the Planning Board reviews when it decides whether to approve projects.

Board members approved the project Tuesday in a 6-0 vote.

The business would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The estimated cost of the proposed project is $4 million, according to application materials filed with the city.

The project will need a site location permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection and a traffic movement permit from the state Department of Transportation. Application materials note it is anticipated that a second left-turn lane from Riverside Drive onto Route 3, also known as the Alfond Connector, will be built as a condition of getting the traffic movement permit. Currently, there is a short left-turn lane there where, when traffic is heavy, waiting cars sometimes back up beyond the length of the turn lane.

Betsy Poulin, deputy city planner, said the DOT already was planning to make improvements to the intersection of Riverside Drive and Route 3.

Latulippe said a project impact fee the applicant will pay to the state will help fund a quicker start for the planned DOT project, and Hutchins has agreed with the DOT to provide a deed to the DOT to help provide more land for improvements to the intersection, which will allow a right-turn lane to be added on Riverside Drive onto Route 3.

“When the DOT’s project is done, the intersection will be greatly improved,” Latulippe said.

The site is in the city’s Regional Business District, where convenience stores are a permitted use.

The board also approved, in a 6-0 vote, an application from Holtravision LLC to build a 4,200-square-foot building to house a deli-style restaurant and retail and office space, at the former Jonathan’s restaurant location at the corner of Civic Center Drive and Garbriel Drive.

The 0.6-acre site is located in the Industrial District, where restaurants, retail shops and offices are permitted uses. The entrance to the site will be from Civic Center Drive, with the exit on Gabriel Drive.

Cori Holt, of Brunswick, owner of Holtravision, said the deli-style restaurant will not be a chain; it will be locally owned and operated.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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