The Waterville City Council has approved a zoning change to allow Ware-Butler Building Supply to have offices at the former Sacred Heart Church rectory at 74 Pleasant St. The rectory is shown in 2021. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel file

WATERVILLE — The City Council approved a zoning change Tuesday to allow offices at the former church rectory on Pleasant Street, and agreed to close parts of streets in downtown Waterville for outdoor dining.

The council voted 5-2 on April 4, in a first vote, to change the zoning for 74 Pleasant St. from a residential classification to commercial, allowing Ware-Butler Building Supply to put offices at the former rectory.

On Tuesday, councilors took a final 5-1 vote to approve it, with Councilor Claude Francke, D-Ward 6, the lone dissenter. He said April 4 it is illegal to have commercial offices in a residential zone.

“I just want to reiterate that for the continuity of the neighborhood, I am opposed to this motion,” Francke said Tuesday. The former church is in Ward 6.

Councilor Flavia DeBrito, D-Ward 2, also voted April 4 against the rezoning, but she was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

Councilors discussed at length a request to close parts of Silver and Common streets, as well as Merchant’s Way, to allow for outdoor dining from April 1 to Nov. 1, ultimately voting 6-0 to approve it with an amendment.


The city approved those closures during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to allow downtown restaurants to have added outdoor space for diners and help them stay in business.

Part of Common Street was closed last year to allow The Proper Pig to have outdoor dining. Interim City Manager Bill Post recommended Tuesday the council make an amendment to allow part of Common Street to be closed again this year, but with a smaller space than last year. With the new, two-way traffic pattern on Main and Front streets, and more traffic crossing Common Street from Main to Front to go over the bridge to Winslow, city officials believe it would be safer to decrease the footprint for dining, according to Post.

He said angled parking spaces on Common go out into the street 13 feet from the sidewalk, and the outdoor dining on Common last year went 20 feet into the street, but that distance will be shortened this year.

Post said the city also plans to put a speed bump on Common Street, to the west of The Proper Pig, to slow traffic.

Councilors said they want to revisit whether to allow for such street closures again next year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s winding down and ongoing “revisioning” discussions about how to make further downtown improvements.

Councilor Tom Klepach, D-Ward 3, said people enjoy dining outdoors, and closing parts of streets gives restaurants more seating capacity and brings liveliness to downtown.


The council also voted 6-0 to refer to the Planning Board for public hearing and recommendation a proposal to amend the zoning ordinance to allow the parking stall length and setback to be changed for the proposed Head of Falls Village housing project along Temple and Front streets.

Councilors voted to approve two hangar leases at Robert LaFleur Airport, as well as zoning changes for two locations on Airport Road to allow for solar arrays there. Rezoning those undeveloped parts of 20 and 30 Airport Road from Commercial-C to Airport Industrial will allow Gaunce Investments LLC to build the solar arrays, which would provide power for Central Maine Motors Auto Group.

At a budget workshop prior to Tuesday’s meeting, Post said he is proposing to add a full-time community development coordinator position that would cost the city $54,000 a year for the next two years. A private donor is also providing $50,000 a year for the next two years to help fund the position, he said.

Post said the community development coordinator would help create a housing plan for the city that would help add affordable housing, apply for grants related to community development and help manage a potential land bank that would have a revolving loan to help people repair their homes.

“I’m sure that the position will grow from that,” Post said.

He also said he has reorganized the assessing department and a deputy assessor position will be added, but the vacant assistant position in that office will not be replaced. Alison Brochu, who left the assistant’s position for a job elsewhere, plans to return April 28 to become the deputy assessor, Post said.

“I think this is a brilliant reorganizing of the department, and I’m really glad that Ally is coming back to Waterville,” council Chairwoman Rebecca Green, D-Ward 4, said.

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