Athenahealth looks to convert former day care center into medical facility
Belfast — Planning Board members weighed in on a proposal from athenahealth to convert the former Bank of America child care center into a medical facility.
The proposal from athenahealth would convert the former child care facility, located on Schoodic Drive, into a medical office for about 10 doctors and an additional 18 employees, Will Gartley of the Camden-based engineering and surveying firm Gartley and Dorsky told planning board members Wednesday, Sept. 11.
Beyond the fact that the building would serve as a family practice office for the doctors, Gartley did not have any more details about the facility for planning board members. Gartley said he did not discuss the details of how the facility would be run with athenahealth, but he said he did understand the company would be involved in the operation of the medical facility in addition to being the landlord.
He did say there is no intent on the part of athenahealth to use the facility as a methadone clinic.
No changes would be made to size of the existing building, but athenahealth is asking to construct 58 new parking spaces in addition to the 32 spaces available in the existing parking lot that served the former child care facility — bringing the total number of parking spaces to 90, which exceeds what city ordinances would require.
Gartley noted the additional spaces would serve as overflow parking for the rest of athenahealth's complex.
Athenahealth would also install a storm-water infiltration basin to the east of the overflow parking lot and additional lighting would be installed. Gartley said the lighting would be similar to what is already used around the complex — goose neck-style lighting on a 12-foot pole.
Acting Planning Board chair Paul Hamilton asked Gartley how long the construction process would take. Gartley said athenahealth wants to start the work this fall in order to get the storm-water management system components installed and to get the additional parking spaces paved before the paving plants close.
He continued by commenting that the other work associated with converting the former child care facility would happen inside the building.
Before more comments were heard from planning board members, Hamilton opened the meeting to a brief public comment session during which no one spoke for or against the project.
Planning Board member Elizabeth Minor asked if additional handicap spaces could be created — the plans presented by Gartley showed four spaces in front of the medical facility, which is what is required by law under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Gartley said there is adequate room to accommodate more spaces near the medical office to which Minor suggested talking to athenahealth to determine how many spaces they feel would be appropriate.
City Planner Wayne Marshall asked planning board members if they would be okay with including a condition that would allow athenahealth to leave the overflow parking lot as gravel if the company is unable to to get it paved this fall. Planning Board members said they did not have an issue with such a condition.
Before deliberations on the application were ended for the evening, Gartley was asked to bring more information about the operation of the medical facility, information on additional handicap parking and find out what type of fuel would be used to heat the building.
The application will be discussed again during the planning board's next meeting Wednesday, Sept. 25.
Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at email@example.com.
Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.
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