Longfellow School rezoning heads to public hearing

BRUNSWICK — If a new police station is built anywhere in town, it will be at the corner of Pleasant and Stanwood streets.

The Town Council on Monday unanimously reaffirmed its intention to put the police station there, ending, at least temporarily, the debate about where the police station should go.

Even Councilor John Perreault, who previously didn’t support the location, said he would go along because “it’s futile not to,” but also because he ultimately supports the construction of a new police station.

He thanked Chairwoman Joanne King for slowing down the site selection process and creating a committee to study locations in town last December following opposition from residents about the way the site was initially chosen.

Perreault also thanked King for suggesting that the Town Council enlist the help of the Brunswick Development Corp., a quasi-municipal economic development group, in purchasing the land at a cost of nearly $1 million. The BDC will convey the land to the town after approvals for the police station are finalized, according to BDC President Larissa Darcy.

In exchange, the town may give the BDC the current town office property at 28 Federal St., which Darcy said the group could redevelop.

In recent weeks the revived Police Station Subcommittee has been meeting with six architectural firms, and will soon decide which one will get the police station design contract. In light of these meetings, King said she wanted the council to officially decide which site the architects should consider.

Although the decision moves the police station one step closer to becoming a reality, the site must first be cleared of four vacant buildings.

The Village Review Board denied the BDC’s application to demolish the buildings in July because, among other things, the group could not offer the board any concrete plans about how the land would be used following the demolition.

But now that the Town Council has reaffirmed its commitment to build a police station on the site, the BDC plans to return to the VRB in October with a new demolition request.

Longfellow School

After being bounced back and forth between the Planning Board and the Town Council, the rezoning of the Longfellow School property is finally headed to a public hearing on Oct. 3. Town Manager Gary Brown said the council could make a decision at that meeting.

The rezoning is a prerequisite for a long-anticipated exchange of Bowdoin College’s McLellan building at Noble and Union streets for the Longfellow School. The Planning Board finally reached consensus on two contested aspects of the new College Use 7 zone – density and use as a recreational facility – on Sept. 13.

In addition to rezoning the property, the college asked the town to mitigate any hazardous waste found at Longfellow School and make traffic safety improvements to the intersections at both ends of College Street.

Brown said Wednesday he expects to announce the details of the swap no later than Oct. 17.

Emily Guerin can be reached at 781-3661 ext.123 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @guerinemily.

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