Town officials Monday approved a zoning change along Federal Street that will allow the current town office building to continue to be used as commercial office space after it is traded for a new police station sometime in 2013.

By a vote of 8-1, with only Councilor John Perrault opposed, the council agreed to amend the block between Mason and Center streets from Town Residential 2 to Town Center 1, which permits office use.

The current town office building at 28 Federal St. was acquired in 1959, according to a memo by town planner Anna Breinich.

At that time, “municipal use” of property in the General Residence zoning was permitted — a loophole through which the town office building fit — although office use was not.

The discrepancy was allowed to continue as a nonconforming use until major rezoning occurred townwide in 1969, when the area was reclassified to Downtown Commercial. At the time, however, because the building was never reclassified from “municipal” to “office” use, the existing zoning in effect was grandfathered.

Under current ordinance, however, use of the building for office space is permitted only as long as the town owns it. In order to swap the building for land at the corner of Stanwood and Pleasant streets, which currently is owned by Brunswick Development Corp. and where ground was broken last month for the new police headquarters, the zoning needs to be changed to permit its intended BDC purpose as commercial office space.

Councilors also pondered acceptance as municipal property approximately 9 acres of recreational space along McKeen and Columbia streets, currently owned by Auburn developer George Schott.

Schott’s company, Affordable Midcoast Housing, purchased housing and land in the McKeen Street neighborhood from the military during Brunswick Naval Air Station’s decomissioning process. Now Schott would like the town to take over long-term maintenance of the playground, basketball court and ballfields. He agreed to pay for $95,512 in repairs, equipment and maintenance to bring them up to municipal standards and code before the transfer occurs.

The playgrounds would be managed by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Having the land under municipal control would help the town “to integrate the former Navy housing into the rest of the community,” according to a memo from Town Manager Gary Brown.

The council is expected to vote on the issue during its Oct. 15 meeting.

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