ORRINGTON, Maine — Town officials plan a public hearing tonight to discuss creating a business and light industry zone on land off Brewer Lake Road that has been amassed over the last decade as part of a joint business park with Brewer, town officials said.
For now, the town and Brewer have decided to go it alone and each is developing its own business and industrial park.
Orrington owns approximately 150 acres situated between and behind 394 and 444 Brewer Lake Road that stretches back to the Brewer line.
“It’s [zoned] rural-farm right now, and what the board wants is for the public to tell us what they want it zoned at,” Louis Morin, Orrington planning board chairman, said Wednesday. “We want all the public input that we can get.”
The public also will be asked if they would like to restrict use on the two lots that have road frontage, which would create a buffer to protect the integrity of the neighborhood, he said.
Tonight’s pubic hearing will be held at the beginning of a 7 p.m. planning board meeting, which is scheduled for the new meeting room at the town office.
Brewer officials and town leaders have been working since 2000 to establish an industrial park at the end of Green Point Road that extends into Orrington and would be owned and operated by the two communities, which would share the cost of development and any tax revenues.
The partnership dissolved last year when Brewer officials wanted to apply for federal stimulus funds, and Orrington leaders decided they were not ready. Brewer applied for the funds alone, creating a proposed business and commerce park on its land behind the landfill off Wiswell Road.
Brewer planners approved the park’s first tenant, Maine Liquid Methane Fuels LLC, earlier this month, making way for development of the state’s first liquid methane fuels energy plant.
Changing the Orrington zoning is the first step required to begin developing the land, said Ron Harriman, a consultant to the town who specializes in economic development.
“If that project does get completed in Brewer, there is a pretty good chance there could be some ancillary, spinoff industries, that would want to locate near the facility,” he said.
“It is potentially a really good site for certain types of industry. You are adjacent to the power lines, gas line and the substation. And it’s pretty remote, in terms of visibility and existing houses,” Harriman said.
Developing the land has been “on the town’s list of goals for a long, long time,” Harriman said. “Step No. 1 is to get the property properly zoned.”
The possibility of someday connecting the two adjacent industrial parks has not been removed from the table, Morin said.
“That’s been the plan all along,” he said.
Residents at the annual town meeting in June will have the final say whether the site’s zoning is changed, said Richard Harriman, Orrington code enforcement officer.
“This public hearing is part of the process to keep us in the game,” he said.