WATERVILLE — The Planning Board on Monday will once again consider recommending to the City Council that the former Sacred Heart Catholic Church property at 72 Pleasant St. and 5 Middle St. be rezoned so the church can be turned into an events center.

The former Sacred Heart Catholic Church property at 72 Pleasant St. in Waterville. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel file

The board was asked May 17 to recommend rezoning but voted 4-3 to postpone the matter to Monday. The change would allow an office building on the site to be used for commercial purposes and the rectory would continue to be used as residential.

The Planning Board does not have authority to rezone properties but may recommend such a change to the council, which would make the final decision.

Businesswoman Jennifer Bergeron, president of the business, BACAS, and her partners, want to buy the church building, church office and rectory at the corner of Pleasant and Gilman streets. The event center would also be used for activities, such as weddings, craft fairs, birthday parties, baby showers, receptions, conferences and retirement celebrations.

Bergeron estimated the parking lot has between 100 and 110 spaces, and that number would allow for three people per space, or about 300 guests.

While some board members support the rezoning, some neighbors expressed concern about late-night gatherings, alcohol consumption and people closing car doors when they leave the parking lot and lights shining into windows in the largely residential area. Some people asked Bergeron to say what time the event center would close, but she said she could not determine ahead of time when certain events would stop.


Monday’s virtual meeting will be held via Zoom at 7 p.m. Monday, and those wanting to attend are asked to contact the city’s Planning Department to receive the link.

Bergeron is requesting the properties be rezoned from Residential-D and Residential-B to Contract Zoned District/Commercial-A.

In other matters Monday, the board is scheduled to consider making a recommendation to the council about whether to alter the traffic flow or create a permanent pedestrian area on part of Silver Street downtown that currently is closed to traffic. During the coronavirus pandemic, the restaurants on Silver Street have relied heavily on being able to provide outdoor dining to survive.

The Alfond Youth & Community Center also is expected to request a revision to the city’s zoning ordinance regarding loading and parking, to allow parking up to 600 feet from an ice arena the center proposes to build at 132 North St.

NextGrid is slated to request the city rezone about 2.1 acres at 101 Webb Road from Rural Residential to Solar Farm District to allow for the redesign or a previously approved solar farm.

The board also is scheduled to consider preliminary and final plans for a 14-lot subdivision off Lincoln Street.

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