WESTBROOK — The Planning Board Tuesday discussed the possibility of rezoning the former Holly’s Gas Station property and also heard preliminary plans for a 100-child day care on Bridge Street.

H.A. Mapes is looking to rezone the former Holly’s site at 380 Main St. from Residential Growth to a City Center District, which allows for a greater array of business types and could potentially aid in the sale of the parcel.

Mapes bought the property in December 2017 for $265,000, with plans to turn it into a self-serve gas station and a convenience store. The company had started work on the site, but recently backed off citing higher than expected costs.

“The expenses for the project exceeded what was anticipated by about 65 percent,” Jonathan Mapes, president of H.A Mapes, said at the Planning Board’s workshop. “The costs are an unintended side effect of a great economy.”

Rezoning the property would make it more attractive to other business, he said.

“It allows for other uses which makes sense in the limited economy, it makes sense for us or another owner,” Mapes said.

If rezoned, the parcel would still be open for residential development as well, according to  Director of Planning and Code Enforcement Jennie Franceschi.

A public hearing on the rezoning could be held in July,  Franceschi said.

Also discussed was a plan to turn the building at 511 Bridge St., formerly the Rocky Hill Manor assisted living community, into a 100-child day care facility for children ages 3 to 12.

“The need for a day care in Westbrook is great,” Ward 3 Planning Board member Joseph Marden said.

The parking garage behind the building would be demolished and replaced with a normal parking lot. The plan also proposes adding a shaded patio to the area.

Last week, Chase Custom Homes & Finance Inc., the applicant for the project, held a meeting with community members about the plan. A few of those residents were at the Planning Board workshop Monday as well.

“I am not happy about having a day care in my backyard,” resident Mariah Lundy said. “The condo I live in is exactly right in their backyard.”

Lundy, along with a few other residents from the area, said they had concerns about noise, storm water runoff and additional traffic.

“I am not sure how you can buffer the sound of 100 kids … It’s not to be mean, but I already am hearing a lot of noise from the Congin School and that’s even further,” Lundy said. “My yard was also already pretty soaked before, and was full out flooded this year as their property slopes into mine, and I am worried about that.”

Board Vice Chairman Rene Daniel urged Chase to consider neighbors’ concerns.

“There are not enough good day cares around … but you need to make sure to work with the neighborhood about the plans,” Daniel said. “You must make sure you build out your buffer.”

To get a better understanding of the property and how close it may be to residences, the Planning Board scheduled a site walk in July.

City officials are expect to hold a public hearing on the day care proposal  sometime in August.

Chance Viles can be reached at 780-9092 or [email protected]. Follow Chance on Twitter: @chanceviles.

H.A Mapes is looking to rezone the former Holly’s Gas Station site at 380 Main St., after deciding not to develop the site for a store and gas station.


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