CAPE ELIZABETH — A Planning Board decision on Tuesday effectively derailed a proposed new business at 287 Ocean House Road.

During the May 7 meeting, AT&T also proposed adding wireless antennas to the water tower at 11 Avon Road.

Michael Friedland, who has a contract to purchase the former Cumberland Farms property at 287 Ocean House Road, requested an amendment to reflect that the canopy over the gas island was legally removed from the site plan. Cumberland Farms removed the canopy in 2014 and never amended its 1994 site plan to reflect the change.

Friedland hoped the amendment would allow prospective buyers, such as himself, to move forward with development through building permits rather than a new site plan review.

He planned to repurpose the former gas station as a retail lumber yard that would also house his other business, Willard Square Home Repair.

“As an investor, I don’t want to buy a property and then be limiting its use,” Friedland said during the workshop.

But board members were unsupportive of the amendment without a proposal for the intended future use of the space. The site, which is designated as a gas station, no longer can function as a gas station and needs a new site plan review, one member argued.

The site, which has specific restrictions in its deed for uses, has been a challenging place to develop. Its current owner, Jin Hwang, purchased the property in 2016 with the intent to establish his dentistry practice, but that never succeeded.

After discussion with the board, Friedland on Tuesday rescinded his amendment proposal. His contract to purchase the property will expire on June 1.

“I’m all done with the property,” Friedland said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I had time limits and I started this process in January. When people say, ‘Why can’t you do this in Cape?’ I say it’s because canopies were legally removed six years ago.”

Water tower antennas

AT&T also requested an amendment to an existing site plan.

The 70-year-old water tower at 11 Avon Road currently hosts three Verizon Wireless antennas and one antenna that delivers data about water pressure and sewer pump stations for the Portland Water District.

Kristen LeDuc, an agent for AT&T Wireless, and Ted Small, an attorney with Skelton Taintor & Abbott who is representing AT&T, proposed a site plan amendment to add six AT&T antennas.

Their proposal also includes the addition of an AC generator, a shelter for the generator, and a 136-square-foot concrete surface for the shelter.

The additional antennas being proposed did not receive the pushback that Verizon encountered several years ago.

In 2014, Verizon applied to add antennas to the drained water tower and was denied by both Code Enforcement Officer Ben McDougal and by the Zoning Board of Appeals at the second attempt. The company sued the town in July 2014 in U.S. District Court in Portland and won. Verizon submitted its updated plan to install antennas in early 2015.

Members of the board primarily had concerns about ensuring neighbors have an opportunity to hear about and discuss potential changes this time around, before a vote is taken.

Discussion centered around whether a second generator would still adhere to the noise level restrictions. LeDuc and Small stated that AT&T is considering an updated generator that would be quieter and that the proposed shelter would include noise-reducing blankets.

Town Planner Maureen O’Meara on Wednesday said she expects AT&T will submit at the end of this month for the June 18 meeting, with a public hearing expected July 16.

Michael Friedland has abandoned plans for a lumber business at the former Cumberland Farms building on Ocean House Road in Cape Elizabeth after the Planning Board voted not to allow the site plan to be amended.

The Avon Road water tower in Cape Elizabeth where AT&T hopes to mount additional wireless antennas.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: