WESTBROOK – After five years of discussion, Idexx Laboratories Inc. has presented a formal plan for its new $50 million corporate headquarters expansion to the Planning Board, and a city memo shows no sign of problems with the project.

The board has set a public hearing on the expansion for Sept. 6. The expansion has been in the news ever since company executives announced it back in 2006.

Since then, the expansion to the company’s existing plant on Eisenhower Drive was threatened when Pike Industries Inc. announced around the same time that it was reactivating a decades-old quarry on a neighboring piece of property, prompting Idexx officials to consider scrapping plans to expand in Westbrook.

But a consent agreement struck between Pike and the city last fall convinced Idexx to stay, and the plans, presented at the Planning Board’s Aug. 16 meeting, represent the next step in the process.

According to a memo from City Planner Molly Just, who evaluated the proposal, the company is planning a 129,000-square-foot building as “phase 1 of a master planned expansion with phase 2 adding approximately 132,000 square feet to the phase 1 building.”

Right now, according to the proposal, the company employs 1,300 people at its headquarters, which sits on a 56-acre parcel. The company plans to build the new building nearby on the same parcel. According to the proposal, the company expects to hire 700 more employees once the building is finished.

According to Just’s report, the company is seeking Leadership in Environmental Education and Design (LEED) platinum certification from the U. S. Green Building Council, which would certify that the facility is built to be environmentally friendly. Among many other considerations, LEED-certified buildings make efficient use of water and electricity.

“The Planning Department strongly supports LEED certification and the platinum rating in particular as it is the highest possible rating,” Just wrote. “LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency,

materials selection and indoor environmental quality.”

Just’s report recommended the plan be approved with conditions. Most of the conditions required Idexx to make sure the facility is accessible by the fire department, has all the required alarms and other fire prevention equipment.

The biggest concern mentioned in the report is a lack of curbing along long stretches of driveway.

“The planning and engineering departments do not support this treatment,” Just wrote.

“Sidewalks and parking lot landscape islands are critical to the support of employees as they walk the long distance from large parking lots to buildings.”

No timeline is specified on the building project, but the company must get Planning Board approval before the project can begin.

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