LaBree’s Bakery seeks to expand facility

Posted Aug. 12, 2010, at 10:33 p.m.

OLD TOWN, Maine — LaBree’s Bakery is looking to rise in the coming year.

The 62-year-old landmark Old Town business is hoping to get City Council approval to expand its facility at 169 Gilman Falls Ave. and increase its production capability, according to Town Manager Margaret “Peggy” Daigle and Code Enforcement Officer Charlie Heinonen.

“The Planning Board has recommended that the council allow [LaBree’s] to build onto their facility as high as 60 feet,” Heinonen said Thursday.

Heinonen said the sticking point involved a zoning change, which occurred when Dewitt Municipal Airport was renovated in 2004, that switched the Gilman Falls location from I1 (heavy industrial) to I2 (less intense industrial) and tightened height restrictions on new construction.

“They’re in an industrial zone which was I1 for a long time, but when we redid the park and airport, that designation was changed,” Heinonen said. “An I1 zone allows businesses to build up to 60 feet, but an I2 allows only up to 35 feet.”

The Planning Board decided to refine the rules and grandfather businesses which were open inside that previous I1 zone in 2004 and allow them to build up to 60 feet while also increasing the 35-foot limit to 45.

“They want to go up to about 52 feet to expand their commercial production capacity,” Heinonen said. “I can’t remember the exact figures, but I’m guessing it’s a good 25 percent increase on the size of their facility. They’re basically filling in a lot of the odd-shaped parts of the facility.”

The City Council will have to approve the recommendation, and the earliest that can happen is September.

LaBree’s is a family-owned business that produces home-style baked goods sold to supermarkets, food services, distributors, warehouses and to the U.S. government either directly or through food brokers and distributors. Its baked goods can be found in grocery stores, convenience stores, schools, hospitals and military commis-saries throughout the continental United States.

LaBree’s chief financial officer David Dorr preferred not to comment on the possible expansion.

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