Casco Town Hall design to meet 50 year needs

 

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — The lifespan of the future Casco Town Hall — which will be built from the ground up, starting this spring — is about 50 years.

Yes, residents can use the Internet to take care of town business such as registering vehicles.

But, that modern convenience most likely won’t stop people from stopping by the Town Hall.

“In the future, the town office is going to continue to be a people place,” according to Casco Town Manager Dave Morton.

The floor plan includes a bonus office window for the public’s benefit.

“We find that a couple times a year, we have 15 to 17 people in the office at the same time,” he said.

The Town Office tends to get a little crowded around the Fourth of July when people are registering boats and picking up the windshield stickers to use the Casco-Naples Transfer Site, he said.

Not only will there be more parking space to accommodate that summertime influx, but also three work stations instead of two.

“When we are really busy, we can open the third work station,” Morton said.

When it is not in use, the third work station will be screened off so that the public doesn’t see the person and have an expectation that that employee is serving the public but ignoring them, Morton said.

“It is not like the Department of Motor Vehicles,” he quipped.

“We will have one-third more folks helping with customer service,” he said.

On Monday, Morton presented the Town Hall site plan to the Casco Planning Board. This was the first time the board met to review the Town Hall site plan.

Foul weather caused the cancellation of the board’s February meeting. On the flip side, comments written by the Town Planner Jim Seymour prior to February’s meeting allowed the town to make adjustments to its water runoff plans and other items such as sidewalks, curb cuts, and location of utilities in time for March’s meeting.

During Monday’s meeting, some time was spent talking about how to keep people from driving through the fire station parking lot. In the end, it was decided that striping and arrows on the pavement might be the best way to deter people from driving vehicles in front of the fire station doors.

The current driveway off Meadow Road will continue to be used so there will be only one entrance to the relatively flat lot.

One entrance will serve traffic coming to Town Office. However, instead of driving straight back, people will turn right to get to the Town Office, which will set about 70 feet from the road.

Native landscaping is planned in that setback space with some parking spaces in front. A larger parking lot will be located behind the building.

Morton was asked about the life expectancy of the structure.

“There is no reason why it will not be serviceable to the town for 40 or 50 years, maybe more,” Morton said.

“The town may decide it needs to do something different before that time. It may last a lot longer than any of us will,” Morton said.

The structure will be wooden with vinyl siding.

“We have an architect working with us, playing with the architecture to dress up the appearance of the building,” he said.

For now, the color scheme is gray with a black shingle roof, he said.

Two types of heating will be used: a heat pump system that doubles as air conditioning and a propane-fired furnace, he said.

The heat pumps will effectively provide cooling in the summer and heating in the winter. When extra warmth is needed, the propane-fired furnace kicks on, he said.

After the subject of heating was broached, there was some discussion about the installation of solar panels. For the time being, that option is too expensive. The Town of Dayton received grant money for solar panels on its town office. But, that particular grant program has been tapped.

The planning board made no decisions on the town hall site plan. The next planning board meeting is scheduled for April 11.

To see the Casco Planning Board meeting in its entirety, check out the Lake Region Television (LRTV) website for recorded meeting or cable TV airing times. Or, go to the Town of Casco website to find the Planning Board agendas and videos.

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