Hallowell officials determined, during a special council meeting last week, that upcoming infrastructure and road work at Stevens Commons is not subject to Planning Board review.

The determination was made after discussions among the City Council, City Manager Nate Rudy, Planning Board members, Stevens Commons owner and developer Matt Morrill and legal counsel for the city and the developer.

Funding for the planned work – about $600,000 – was a part of the $2.36 million bond package that voters approved overwhelmingly in April. As part of the agreement, Morrill will give the deed to the roads to the city of Hallowell before the work begins, but Morrill will remain involved in the bidding process and will oversee the work done on the property.

Rudy said the plan doesn’t call for widening any of the existing roads, partly because that’s what the Maine Historic Preservation Commission has required for maintaining the Stevens Commons “quad” and also because it serves the campus better to not have wide roads there.

“It was a really healthy and positive step forward for us,” he said.

Rudy said the requests for proposals for the project were due Friday, and interviews will be conducted in early July so the council can vote on the recommended bidder at its July 10 meeting. Needing the Planning Board to review every detail of the project would have altered severely the timeline for the work’s completion, Rudy said.

The Highway Committee and other city officials met Thursday and reviewed plans for the work with Morrill and came away from the meeting thinking that the plan is “workable and meets the ordinance standards,” Rudy said.

“We just uncomplicated something that seemed complicated to the people involved, and I’m pleased.”

In other business at the special council meeting, Rudy provided the council with an update on the design and construction of the city’s new fire station.

A city working group recommended that the council accept a proposal from the Curtis/Laukka group to design and build the station at Stevens Commons with up to $1 million in funding from an anonymous donor. The conceptual design process started June 21 and the organization will begin construction drawings July 11, according to their proposal.

The council is scheduled to meet again Wednesday for an executive session on real estate.

Jason Pafundi can be contacted at 621-5663 or at:

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