The Westbrook Planning Board has approved an expansion at the veterinary technology firm Idexx Laboratories that will allow for 600 new employees.

Following a public hearing Tuesday night, the board voted 7-0 in favor of the expansion.

In January, Idexx released details about the addition to its global headquarters in Westbrook. The company estimated the project would cost $62 million and would add a new multi-level, 135,000-square-foot expansion to its existing Synergy Center.

In the months since, company representatives have interacted with neighbors during a series of public meetings. They have heard concerns about the traffic impact near the already busy Idexx campus, at the south corner of Saco Street and Eisenhower Drive.

Westbrook City Planner Jennie Franceschi said the planning board placed several conditions on the project, including final approval from the Maine Department of Transportation for a traffic movement permit. Franceschi said Idexx is expected to take on several improvements on nearby streets and intersections.

“They are very anxious to get rolling, but all of those components need to be addressed before they can move forward,” Franceschi said.

Franceschi said Idexx has put forth reasonable ideas about improving the traffic flow in the area. “We feel they have studied the extent of the issue in their sphere of influence,” she said.

Idexx officials told the planning board Tuesday evening that they are still working with MDOT on getting final approval for a traffic movement permit.

Tom Errico, Idexx’s traffic engineer, said that once the permit has been issued, the state will likely require that a traffic light be installed at Eisenhower Drive and Saco Street.

Idexx, which produces veterinary diagnostic testing equipment, software and other products, has been based in Westbrook since 1991. Today, the company employs more than 7,000 people around the globe, including 2,500 in Westbrook. The company reported revenue of $1.97 billion in 2017, an 11 percent increase over the previous year.

In response to the planned expansion at the Idexx campus, Westbrook recently extended and expanded a tax increment financing – or TIF – district for the company. Under that agreement, the city’s projections show Idexx could get nearly $1 million back in property taxes each year once the addition is built.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

 

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