Thomaston development drives council talkResidential neighborhoods may see increased commercial pressure
Rockland — Development of superstores near the Thomaston town line will likely increase commercial development of Rockland's west side, according to a memo from Community Development Director John Holden.
City Council will discuss the memo and the future of the west side Monday, Nov. 4, at 6:30 p.m. at city hall. The council will also use the time to set the agenda for its Monday, Nov. 13 meeting.
In his Nov. 1 memo to City Manager James Smith, Holden said Rockland has limited areas for future commercial development. The industrial park is nearly full and there are limits on uses in the downtown.
The memo also notes that while Rockland has a strong ability to draw retail customers from outside its borders it now faces significant competition from Thomaston.
Holden said the west side of the city including Route 1, part of Park Street (possibly meaning upper Park), Pleasant Street and Oliver Woods would feel increased pressure for commercial development.
One of the questions raised in the memo is how residential uses in that area will be compatible with potential development. It quotes the comprehensive plan, stating: "These residential sections of the city are most likely to evolve into industrial areas in the future and should be prepared for a gradual transition into more intensive non-residential uses."
Holden recommends seeking input from residents, business owners and land owners on the issue.
Smith said Nov. 4 that city officials have been having conversations for the better part of a year about what is happening on the west side.
The memo makes no mention of discussions of selling the current city hall property on Pleasant Street and finding a new location.
City Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson said the council discussed that possibility during a closed-door meeting in September with Holden and Smith.
Courier-Gazette Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 594-4401 ext. 122.
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Daniel Dunkle is editor of The Courier-Gazette and news director for Courier Publications. He lives in Rockland with his wife, Christine, who also works for Courier Publications, and two children.
Dunkle has previously served as editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. He has worked as a reporter and photographer in the Midcoast for 15 years.
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