BRUNSWICK, Maine — The Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a special permit application to re-establish a church on Old Bath Road.
The board also approved a sketch plan review for a 14-home subdivision on undeveloped lots on a loop intersecting Hacker Road.
Anna Breinich, the town’s director of planning and development, said Grace Reformed Baptist Church is seeking to take over a building that had previously housed another church.
The building, built in 1986 at 34 Grover Lane, did not originally require a special permit. But in order to reoccupy the space, Breinich said the applicants had to go through that process.
“The building is not changing now,” she said, but added there could be changes in the future. She said the building has met all code requirements.
The Rev. Micah Renihan, the pastor who submitted the application on behalf of the Northern New England District of the Council Assemblies of God, said they are seeking a simple permit to re-establish the previous use of the building. He said for now, the maximum capacity for the building will be 70 people.
“We hope it will grow, but for now 70 will be the max on Sundays,” Renihan said.
Breinich said there was a request in the application that shared parking for users of a nearby bike path be encouraged to continue. An agreement between the previous tenants and the town’s parks and recreation department stood until the building went on the market in January.
Renihan said the church is “eager to continue” the agreement, and is trying to find out what the specifics of it were. He said the parking lot currently has 61 spots.
The board approved the application 5-0. Vice Chairwoman Margaret Wilson and member Dale King were absent.
Chairman Charles Frizzle said the Town Council has the authority to take over jurisdiction of the process, so there is a 30-day waiting period before the church can move forward.
The board also unanimously approved the sketch plan review for the Rose Douglas Village at 207 Hacker Road and nearby adjacent lots.
Applicant Robert Muller had come before the board last November for a pre-application workshop, and since that time the density of the project has been scaled back.
Muller, who owns the undeveloped lots totaling nearly 48 acres, plans a 14-unit residential subdivision. He also proposed having nearly 24 acres being set aside for conservation and common space.
He had originally proposed up to 20 units.
Muller’s representative, Kevin Clark, of Sitelines PA, said the subdivision will be of “high-efficiency construction,” with solar panels on each home. New Hampshire-based Unity Homes is being tapped for the project.
Breinich said there are portions of the proposed development simply identified as “to be retained by owner.” She told Muller she “highly” recommends he soon identify how the land will be used.
Neighbors expressed their concerns about that aspect of the plan.
Jilda Izzo and her husband Werner Wellmann, residents of Hacker Road, suggested Muller could later decide to add more units on the land he retains.
Muller would still have the right to develop his property, Frizzle said, and Breinich said he could say that area is reserved for future development, which is what the original plan stated. But he would still have to return to the Planning Board if he decided to continue development.
Muller said he is not sure yet what he will do with the property.
A vote on final approval of the project will come at a later date.