Board gives New Age Builders final chance

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Just as the Bridgton Planning Board was about to nullify the application, the board decided Tuesday to give New Age Builders one more chance to seek approval for a medical marijuana cultivation facility in a vacant industrial building on the Portland Road.

Code Enforcement Officer Robbie Baker said the applicants told him they planned to submit a “brand new application” for the business, after coming in unprepared, with conflicting information, back in November.

The Planning Board gives applicants three months of tabling actions to give them the opportunity to come up with a completed site plan that the board can then begin to review. That three months was up on Tuesday.

Questions arose over who was the actual applicant of the project. Initially it was listed as a contractor, New Age Builders, but at a subsequent meeting the person seeking to grow the marijuana as a licensed caregiver appeared before the board seeking approval. The owner of New Age Builder is also a caregiver, and said he was also the applicant, but the board told them two separate entities cannot operate a medical marijuana growing operation within the same facility.

Another confusion arose over language. The initial application stated the planned use was as a dispensary, but in later letters to abutters the use was listed as a cultivation operation. Adding to the difficulty is the lack of specificity about rules governing cultivation operations in the medical marijuana provisions inserted in the Site Plan Review Ordinance that was approved by voters last June.

In other action, the board:

  • Gave final approval to an office and professional building at Sustainable Way, off the Portland Road, that is being developed by Justin McIver of Main Eco Homes, doing business as Criterion Developers. The project is still subject to Department of Environmental Protection approval.
  • Gave final approval to Chalmers Brothers plans to raze the existing NAHGA claims insurance building next to their main office on Main Street and construct a new office building for NAHGA closer to the sidewalk. The existing building must be torn down within six months after the new building goes up, the board ruled as a condition of approval.
  • Gave final approval to Rufus Porter Museum for its site plan to renovate the Gallinari building next to Bridgton Library and move the existing museum building on North High Street to the property. Baker and the police department must be notified prior to moving the museum down Main Street, and the signage must receive Baker’s approval as well.
  • Gave final approval to revisions to the concept plan for the Eco Estates subdivision off Sustainable Way. The changes will allow McIver to reach a larger potential market. Engineer George Sawyer complied with the board’s directive to show the drainage around the prospective homes on the plan.
  • Noted departmental permit approvals for: Opportunity Enterprises to operate a community support program for the developmentally disabled at 316 Portland Road; Amy Figoli to operate a yoga and meditation studio at 118 Main Street, in The Bridgton News building; and Moonrise to operate a Reiki and healing business at 82 Main Street.
  • Set a public hearing for Tuesday, March 29, at 7 p.m. to hear new evidence on five limited elements of the Bridgton Bottled Gas project on the Portland Road that the Appeals Board recently remanded back to the Planning Board.
  • Voted to express thanks to Selectman Bob McHatton for suggesting the upcoming budget include a stipend for Planning Board members. The stipend would be the same amount as is budgeted for selectmen — $1,750 for the chairman and $1,300 for members. Board Chairman Steve Collins said the message is “Thanks for your consideration, and do what you like.”
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