Shawn Moody praises Harvey Performace Company at the Gorham Planning Board meeting Monday. He owns the land where Harvey’s new plant will be built.

Architect Dana Watts, representing Harvey Performance Company, presents a range of exterior colors for the plant to the Planning Board Monday. Pictured at left is Planning Board member James Anderson.

GORHAM — The Planning Board Monday approved Harvey Performance Company’s request to construct a large tool-making plant at the former harness horse racing track on Narragansett Street.

The board voted 5-0 with Molly Butler-Bailey and Brian Plowman absent. Harvey becomes the first project at the sprawling site owned by Shawn Moody’s company. The 62-acre former track is zoned Narragansett Mixed Use Development District Zone.

The new plant will bolster the town’s tax base.

“This is going to be a value-added project for the town,” Moody said from the public podium Monday.

The Massachusetts-based company manufactures high performance machine tools and has outgrown its Helical Solutions facility in the Gorham Industrial Park. Before Monday’s meeting, Steve Vatcher, Harvey’s vice president of operations, said construction of the new facility is expected to take a year.

Helical Solutions now has 80 employees. Brian Lavelle, Harvey’s chief financial officer, said 150 jobs would be added in the next few years at the new facility. ‘We’re excited about the project,” Lavelle said.

The project on 14 acres will be built in two phases. Phase 1 will be a single story, 25 feet high, covering 76,887 square feet with 172 parking spaces. Phase 2 will be a 36,000-square foot addition with 115 parking spaces. Project engineer Shawn Frank of Sebago Technics expects approval soon from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Frank said a DEP permit is being drafted. Town Planner Tom Poirier said Harvey Performance is looking to start construction immediately and Poirier expects to have DEP approval “in hand” before the preconstruction meeting.

The facility will be served by public water, sewer and natural gas. A 1,300-foot access road from Narragansett Street to the site has been named  Raceway Drive.

At Monday’s meeting, the project’s architect, Dana Watts of SMMA in Cambridge, Massachusetts, presented a variety of proposed colors for exterior metal building panels. A stucco-type panel was one example Watts presented and colors of panels included a variety of gray. Watts said a final color-scheme had not been selected yet.

But, the range of colors satisfied the Planning Board that last month had questions about the outside appearance.

“I think it will be a great project for the town of Gorham,” Planning Board Chairman George Fox said.

Also on Monday, the Planning Board discussed a proposal from Chase Custom Homes for a 118-lot housing project off South Street.

“This is a large complex project,” Fox said.

The project engineer, Andrew Morrell of BH2M, expects to be at the board multiple times and suggested a workshop on the project named Sawyer Estates.

Public sewer is an issue and Poirier wants to meet with Portland Water District and the applicant about options. The project also would require extending public water 1,200 feet along South Street.

Neighbors voiced concerns about sidewalks, style of homes, impact on wildlife, safety of children and added traffic.

The Planning Board review could he handled in phases. “This is a huge project to wrap our arms around,” Planning Board member James Anderson said, and it will take some time.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 780-9089 or email [email protected]

Gorham neighbors of a proposed 118-lot housing project off South Street review plans with project engineer Andrew Morrell, right, after Monday’s Planning Board meeting. Pictured, from left, are Crestwood Drive residents Courtney Parsons, Allyson Lowell and Eric Semle.

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