Topsham planner Rod Melanson speaks to selectmen Thursday about upgrades the town wants to make at the intersection of Monument Place and Second Street. Screenshot

Topsham selectmen voted 5-0 Thursday to spend up to $20,000 from the town’s impact fee account for road and sidewalk improvements at Monument Place and Second Street.

The town’s planning director, Rod Melanson, recommended the town pay part of the estimated $34,000 cost to make the fixes as part of the construction of an Aroma Joe’s coffee shop at 1 Second St. The drive-in coffee shop, which will house other tenants as well, is located near the intersection of Main Street and Route 196 in Topsham’s downtown.

According to a memo from Topsham’s planning office, the engineer for Aroma Joe’s has planned for a crosswalk and sidewalk on Second Street that would cost about $17,000. The memo notes that “an opportunity exists to fund additional work during the project to enhance the infrastructure improvement and make it more effective.”

The project was approved by the Topsham Planning Board in October 2020, pending the Maine Department of Transportation granting traffic permits. Melanson said Thursday that MDOT has granted a traffic permit based on 130 peak hour vehicle trips generated by Aroma Joe’s.

“So there’s a fairly large impact to that intersection that MDOT identified, even though it’s a local road, that needed some sort of traffic management,” Melanson said.

Second Street is a short street between Main Street and Monument Place, which runs parallel to Route 196 between Main Street and the Topsham Fair Mall.

The town is looking to install new curbing at the intersection, relocate the sidewalk from private property to the town’s right of way, and provide a crosswalk at the intersection.

Melanson said the town’s planned improvements would help accommodate the added traffic from Aroma Joe’s in the morning when the adjacent Kopper Kettle restaurant at 7 Second St., would also have more traffic.

Selectman David Douglass asked if the work would still leave enough room for vehicles at the Kopper Kettle, which Melanson said is an issue he is also looking to make sure is addressed in final construction plans.

The town collects fees from developers of projects that generate extra traffic in the Topsham Fair Mall area, including Monument Place. The money is collected to improve the transportation network in the area, according to the memo. This impact fee account has a balance of approximately $70,000.


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