The Waterville Planning Board is expected Tuesday to again consider a rezoning request that would allow Ware-Butler Building Supply to fix up the rectory at the former Sacred Heart Church on Pleasant Street so the company could use the building for business offices. The City Council must ultimately approve the rezoning. The rectory is shown in 2021. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel file

WATERVILLE — The Planning Board is expected Tuesday to consider whether to recommend a zoning change that would allow Ware-Butler Building Supply to put business offices at the former Sacred Heart Church rectory at 74 Pleasant St.

The board voted 4-2 on Feb. 14 to recommend the City Council rezone the property and debate was fierce on the proposal, with board Chairwoman Samantha Burdick opposing the rezoning. She argued the city has a serious lack of housing and Ware-Butler already has torn down three houses, one next to its North Street retail building and two on Pleasant Street, near that building.

At the urging of City Solicitor William A. Lee III, the council voted 5-0 on Feb. 21 to send the matter back to the Planning Board, asking that the board explain its recommendation to the council about rezoning the property and issue councilors a report detailing the reasons for the recommendation.

Lee said the city’s zoning ordinance requires the Planning Board issue such a report when it makes a zoning change recommendation. He also said the Planning Board merely voted to recommend the change to the council, with no explanation.

Ware-Butler had previously requested the rezoning, and the council sent the request to the Planning Board for a recommendation. The board can only recommend rezoning to the council, which has the final say.

The  former church rectory could serve as multifamily housing, Burdick said at the Feb. 14 board meeting. She also argued rezoning from Residential-D to Contract Zoned District/Commercial-A would not guarantee the 140-year-old rectory would be preserved.


In other matters Tuesday, the Planning Board is scheduled to consider a final plan by Colby College to build a 328-space parking lot off Senior Drive.

Walmart is also expected to request a review of a previously approved site plan. The business wants to build an addition for customers who pick up orders, according to City Planner Ann Beverage.

The board is also scheduled to consider a request from Elm Plaza Corp. to put a Town Fair Tire store at the space formerly occupied by Olympia Sports at the shopping plaza off upper Main Street.

The board is slated to meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at The Elm at 21 College Ave.

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