BELFAST — The Planning Board unanimously approved the permit for a new structure to be located at 126 Church St. July 20, after continued discussion regarding the stormwater drainage issue for the proposed property.

The board had requested that the applicant, Old Belfast Bank LLC, go back to its engineer to resolve several questions the board posed during its July 13 meeting. Specifically, board member Lewis Baker raised several concerns with the applicant’s plan regarding stormwater drainage, especially during the winter months. Baker said he wasn’t convinced, based upon the applicant’s proposed plan, that stormwater would be able to penetrate the frozen ground to drain underground.

The board suggested that the applicant provide information regarding the proposed plan to the city’s engineer for approval prior to moving forward with site plan approval.

The board then scheduled a special meeting July 20 to consider the new information and input from the city’s engineer.

Earl Mackenzie, who is overseeing the project for the owners, said he spoke with his engineer and that the engineer wrote a letter to the city regarding the project, which was also reviewed by the city’s engineer. He told the board both his engineer and the city’s engineer approved the proposed stormwater plan, noting that the ground can absorb water in the winter.

Mackenzie also told the board the applicants plan to shovel and salt the area around the building to keep down snow and ice, which could help stormwater to soak into the ground.

Baker said he was under the impression the city had a storm drain on Church Street.

Belfast Code and Planning Director Bub Fournier said there isn’t a drain on the side of Church Street the proposed structure is on. He said the only storm drain is on the other side of the street, but that it isn’t feasible for the applicant to connect there.

Baker said he didn’t understand why it wasn’t feasible to use that storm drain and added he felt the applicant didn’t really provide a stormwater plan other than to dump the stormwater into the ground. He also said he couldn’t support the plan as drafted.

The board then discussed what would happen if the current plan didn’t work.

Fournier said the city already has engineered systems in the city that don’t work properly and that the recourse is for the code enforcement officer to issue a violation, as the city’s code does not allow stormwater to be placed outside the property, especially where it can create problems.

The board then suggested making the applicant fix or repair the problem if the current stormwater plan does not work as an additional condition of issuing the permit. Also, while Mackenzie said the applicant would shovel and salt the area around the building during the winter, the board voted to make that a condition of approval to ensure that it happens.

After the discussion, the board voted 5 to 0 to approve the site plan, with the additional stormwater-related conditions.