After months of waiting, Wal-Mart finally presented its plans to the Planning Board last week.

At a meeting on April 5, Wal-Mart presented a sketch plan of the store proposed for the site of the Saunders Brothers mill, after filing its plans with the city in February.

The plan submitted by Sebago Technics on behalf of Wal-Mart, calls for a 203,000-square-foot superstore with an attached 9,100-square-foot garden center and a 1,076-space parking lot.

The size of the store is larger than the 160,000-square-foot limit that would be mandated in new site plan review standards currently being discussed by the Planning Board. If the Planning Board and City Council approved those standards, the Wal-Mart project would be subject to those restrictions because the City Council made those restrictions retroactive when sending them to the Planning Board for debate.

Nancy St. Clair of Sebago Technics said Wal-Mart’s plan calls for all buildings on the site to be removed before construction on the store begins. She said some of the existing mill buildings are just 20 feet from the property line. The proposed Wal-Mart would be at least 100 feet from any property line, said St. Clair.

In addition, there is currently access to the mill property from Cottage Street. St. Clair said Wal-Mart’s proposal calls for that access to be closed off. It would be used for emergency vehicle access only.

The plan also calls for a berm to be built around the rear of the property to screen the store from the existing neighborhood. St. Clair said that earthen berm would be planted along the sides and top, and the species of plantings would be varied to provide seasonal color and screening all year round.

The Planning Board did not make any comments regarding the plan after hearing Wal-Mart’s presentation, and because the presentation was only a sketch plan, there was no public comment taken.

Planning Board Chairman Ed Reidman said the board would be holding a public hearing on the new site plan review standards on April 26. The meeting, which will televised on Channel 3, will be held in Room 114 of Westbrook High School at 7 p.m.


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