FREEPORT — After two meetings, a site walk and a few plan alterations, the Project Review Board approved the demolition and relocation of the existing Ben & Jerry’s store.

A pedestrian area will be created in its place, with plantings, benches and landscaping. The plan also revises some enhancements to the previously approved Puffin Park Plaza between Abercrombie & Fitch and the L.L. Bean Bike, Boat and Ski store.

The new Ben & Jerry’s store will be located behind the Bartol Library building now occupied by Abercrombie & Fitch. It will be a 1,170 square-foot structure with the back of the building to Nathan Nye Street. The size of the building was reduced by 10 feet following the site walk.

While the board approved the plan unanimously, some members questioned the allowable use of the new pedestrian space and voiced disappointment in the loss of the railing area in front of the building to place campaign signs and announcements.

Project Review Board member Alan Tracy said many residents were concerned about losing the area where signs and announcements are posted. He said the area, used for candidate support, community events and local announcements, makes Freeport more of a community and less of a shopping destination.

“This is clearly a very important issue for community members,” Tracy said.

Board member Ralph Dean said he supports the project, but the demolition of the original Ben & Jerry’s store eliminates the “last quirky feel” of the Freeport village and makes it more of a planned campus.

“It looks more sterile,” Dean said. “This is the last of the weird Freeport and it’s never going to come back.”

Town Planner Donna Larson said she will work with the Freeport Historical Society to discuss a way to capture the memory of the building using photography or artistic documentation.

J.D. Schnackenberg of L.L. Bean said construction of the new store will begin before the existing store is demolished. He expects the store to open by June or July, 2011.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or [email protected]

Sidebar Elements

The Project Review Board approved the demolition of the Ben and Jerry’s building and railing on Main Street last week. The store will be constructed behind the Bartol Library building and a pedestrian walkway will created in its place. This rendition provided by L.L. Bean shows what the area could look like by July 2011.

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