Bangor Savings Bank plans to renovate the New Harbor branch of Damariscotta Bank and Trust, which will soon merge into Bangor Savings.
Jeff Read, of Sevee & Maher Engineers Inc., presented plans for the renovation to the Bristol Planning Board on Thursday, Aug. 20. The board approved the plans.
The renovation plans involve repairs to the structure and the addition of a mechanical room, to consolidate utility connections, and an employee break room. The expansion will be in the rear of the building.
The structure has “some issues,” Read said.
“You can see daylight through some of the roof sheathing, the foundation walls are all cracked, and we believe the footings are on the shallow side,” he said.
Read said an architect has designed the renovations to maintain the existing character and feel of the building.
Read said the improvements will cost more than 50% of the value of the existing structure. Under an amendment to Bristol’s land use ordinance passed at annual town meeting in March, the planning board had to decide whether the building would have to meet setback requirements because of the cost of the improvements.
The building, at the corner of Bristol Road and Southside Road, does not meet the requirement for a 50-foot setback from the road. It is grandfathered or “legally nonconforming,” which means it was built before the town adopted the rule.
Read said the renovations will not make the building any more nonconforming.
If the bank had to move the building back or demolish the current building and build another one to meet the setback, the project would cost much more, Read said.
“We’d like to keep it right where it is. But we need your permission to do so,” Read said.
“I’m of the mindset that it’s not really practical to make them move it further from the road,” said Ben Pendleton, chair of the planning board.
The branch will close during construction, planned for the fall, but Bangor Savings will set up a temporary ATM. The branch is the only bank on the Bristol peninsula.
The next step is for Bangor Savings Bank to apply for a building permit with its finalized plans for the renovation.