The Damariscotta Board of Selectmen will send a letter to the Damariscotta Planning Board to express safety concerns about a proposal to build Dollar General and Sherwin-Williams stores at the corner of Main Street and Biscay Road.
Damariscotta DG LLC, a legal entity created by Lisciotti Development Corp., submitted a site plan application to the town for the development of the 1.8-acre property in January. The property would be subdivided into two lots, with a 7,500-square-foot Dollar General store planned for one lot and a 4,500-square-foot Sherwin-Williams store planned for the other.
Austin Turner, a civil engineer with Bohler Engineering, made a presentation on the application before the planning board and residents Feb. 6.
During their meeting Wednesday, Feb. 15, the selectmen expressed a strong interest in the construction of sidewalks in town as commercial developments move in.
In June 2008, the Damariscotta Planning Advisory Committee compiled the Damariscotta Sidewalk-Bicycle Plan, which outlined the town’s goals to improve “walkability and bikeability” in Damariscotta. The top priority of the plan was a sidewalk along Main Street to provide a safe means of travel from downtown to Great Salt Bay Community School, the town office, and other businesses.
In a Feb. 2 email to the planning board, Town Manager Matt Lutkus said the construction of sidewalks continues to be a “high priority” with the selectmen.
During the preliminary site plan review with Turner and John Scribner, a developer at Lisciotti Development, the planning board discussed the possibility of having the applicant make a financial contribution to a future sidewalk project.
Selectman Jim Cosgrove said during the selectmen’s meeting that he was “uncomfortable” with a developer putting away money for a future project and delaying the construction of the sidewalk.
“It means we’re going that much longer without a sidewalk, and we don’t know what’s going to happen to costs in the future,” Cosgrove said. “Particularly in this case, at the corner of Biscay Road and Main Street, it’s a very dangerous corner.”
A former resident of Biscay Road, Cosgrove said children walk and bike along the road to get to Great Salt Bay Community School, at 559 Main St., and the addition of a raised sidewalk would increase their safety, a point the other selectmen concurred with.
In addition, the letter will express the selectmen’s concern about the location of entrances to the development. The proximity of both proposed entrances, one on Main Street and one on Biscay Road, to the intersection could cause traffic to back up on Main Street, Chair Robin Mayer said.
“I’m pleased they’re coming. I just want to see it done in the safest way,” Cosgrove said.
The next meeting of the Damariscotta Planning Board is scheduled for Monday, March 6. Town Planner Tony Dater said the development is on the agenda.