Planning Board Considers New Home in Lower Village, Meatpacking Facility at Pineland, and Ordinance Changes

The New Gloucester planning board met on February 5, 2019, with a full agenda, including site plan review of a proposed new home in the Village historic district, a proposal by Pineland Farms for renovations to establish a meat-packing facility on their grounds, and several proposed ordinance changes.

The bulk of the meeting concerned an application by Michael and Julie Fralich to build a new single-family residence at 20 Gloucester Hill Road that might also be used for short-term rentals in summer.  The location of the property, across from the First Congregational Church in the historic overlay district of the lower village, requires review by the New Gloucester Historical Society as well as the planning board.A representative from the architectural firm shared plans for the house, noting their attempts to incorporate siting and design elements found throughout the lower village and pointing out several shade trees the house was being planned around.  Beverly Cadigan, representing the New Gloucester Historical Society, raised several concerns, including the Fralichs’ request for a waiver of a 50-foot buffer requirement, the precedent and impact of possible short-term rentals in the historic district, and a few of the house’s planned aesthetic elements. Cadigan requested that the board hold a public hearing on the application.

Given the element of seasonal rentals, the board considered commercial as well as residential requirements.  In particular, the board discussed whether a requirement for a 50-foot screening buffer between residential and non-residential properties applies and may be waived, and whether the applicants’ plan for a curved driveway with two entrances is appropriate in light of an ordinance setting a minimum distance between commercial driveway entrances.  Town planner Scott Hastings noted that town staff have no issue with waiving the buffer requirement or with the design of the driveway.  Jean Libby, an alternate on the planning board, questioned whether the driveway in the Fralichs’ plan may pose a problem for traffic in that area of the village, at least during the busiest times of the year, as well as whether it complies with the town’s commercial driveway ordinance.  Given questions about the interpretation and applicability of the ordinance, the planning board asked the town planner and code enforcement officer to revisit the ordinance and the driveway plan.

Ultimately, the board decided to send the application to a public hearing and also asked the Fralichs to prepare more information on their landscaping plans before approving the waiver for the buffer.  The public hearing is scheduled for March 5, 2019.

Another item concerned Pineland’s plans to renovate what is now their creamery into a meat-packing facility.  Representatives from Sevee & Mahar Engineers presented Pineland’s plans.  The major changes involve a new driveway off a road on Pineland’s property, an addition to the original structure, new septic fields to absorb increased wastewater, and the addition of liquid nitrogen tanks for cryogenic freezing.  The board confirmed that appropriate lining of the septic was in the plan, received assurances about the lifespan of the proposed leach fields, and verified that the nitrogen tanks were to be maintained in accordance with state requirements.  It was also noted that the water supply for this property is controlled by the Yarmouth Water District.  The board voted not to hold a public hearing on the application but did condition final approval on the town code enforcement officer’s receipt and approval of additional septic design details.

The meeting opened with a public hearing on proposed changes to several town ordinances.  Along with some technical clarifications, there were proposed changes to the definition of Community Living Arrangements and specifying where in town they can be located, and a proposed new use: “Live-In Health Care Facilities.”  These items were clarified by Scott Hastings, New Gloucester Town Planner.  There were no comments from the public.

For the agenda and materials for this specific meeting, together with the board’s mission statement and a list of the board members, click here.  For the full video of this meeting, click here.

The planning board meets on the first Tuesday of the month at the New Gloucester Meeting House at 389 Intervale Road. Meetings are open to the public and are televised and archived on the town’s website: