New Commercial Developments OKed for Bangor, Maine

Despite concerns about traffic flow, the planning board on Tuesday night granted two approvals sought by W/S Kittredge Road LLC for a small commercial development proposed for the growing Bangor Mall area.

The development at issue would be located on a 3.13-acre parcel at 878 Stillwater Ave., near the site picked for a Wal-Mart Supercenter and the existing Crossroads Plaza shopping center.

W/S Kittredge Road LLC plans to build a 5,875-square-foot restaurant, a 14,002-square-foot dry goods store, and a 2,975-square-foot bank with drive-up service on the site.

Though Bangor attorney Edmond Bearor, who is representing the developer, confirmed the bank would be a TD Banknorth, he declined to disclose the restaurant and retail tenants, citing the lack of signed leases.

In order for the project to move forward, the developer needed site plan approval for the overall project and conditional use approval for the bank's drive-through element.

Both approvals ultimately were granted, though not until after a lengthy debate and not unanimously.

Board members split 3-2 in granting conditional use approval for drive-through and 4-1 on site plan approval.

As it stands, both projects would have access from Stillwater Avenue, the Hogan Road extension the city plans to complete next year by a shared interior access drive.

A lack of guarantees that the planned road improvements actually will happen worried some board members, including Nathaniel Rosenblatt and Miles Theeman.

"We all want this to happen, it's just a question of how we get there," Theeman said, adding that the uncertainties "create a dilemma for me."

To that end, board members added the conditions that none of the three businesses be allowed to open until the Hogan Road extension project - and other traffic improvements required by Kittredge Road's state traffic movement permit - are complete.

The city, which has long planned to extend Hogan Road, recently put that project and other mall area traffic improvement on a fast track to help to allow the $23.6 million Wal-Mart Supercenter to move forward.

In April, city councilors approved a commitment letter to the Maine Department of Transportation agreeing to take on a series of off-site traffic improvements, including construction of the Hogan Road extension, the widening of Bangor Mall Boulevard, Springer Drive and Hogan Road, additional turning and through lanes on Stillwater Avenue and traffic signal improvements throughout the area.

Wal-Mart has agreed to contribute $250,000 toward the cost of the Hogan Road extension, expected to cost about $400,000. The extension also will involve shifting the end of Kittredge Road closest to Hogan Road to address a tricky intersection angle.

City Engineer Jim Ring said earlier that the Hogan Road extension is part of the city's effort to reduce traffic congestion on Stillwater Avenue.

The city originally planned to build a parallel service road, but that would have required cutting a swath through the Penjajawoc watershed, a concept panned by local environmentalists.

The latest plan calls for linking Stillwater Avenue developments from Bangor Parkade to the Wal-Mart Supercenter site by means of access roads that will allow motorists to travel from one to another without having to use Stillwater Avenue.

Also Tuesday, the board:

. Agreed to modify Bangor International Airport's city and state site development plans to allow for the construction of a new potassium acetate storage tank between the Airfield Maintenance Building and the Maine Air Museum. BIA uses potassium acetate as a deicing fluid for paved areas, including runways, taxiways and aprons.

. Granted developmental subdivision and planned group development approval to Libby Brothers Inc. for two four-unit apartment buildings on Husson Avenue.

. Approved Neil S. Warner's final subdivision plan for a three-lot cluster residential subdivision at 633 Essex St. The subdivision is proposed for a parcel on the east side of Essex, north of the Interstate 95 bridge. The parcel abuts the south side of the city's Essex Street Recreation Area and includes a segment of the former Veazie Railroad bed, according to city documents related to the deal. As part of the project, Warner has set aside a 1.14-acre easement for recreational trails.