A family entertainment center with escape rooms is planned for 461 Commercial St. The building is currently home to State of Maine Cheese Co., and was also occupied by Maine Street Meats before that business moved to a new location earlier this year.

Tiffany Ford submitted a pre-application to the Rockport Planning Board April 24 to open a business with pool tables and an arcade in the downstairs area and convert the upstairs into escape rooms.

Escape rooms, where groups of people attempt to solve a series of puzzles and riddles in order to make it out of a locked room, have rapidly grown in popularity over the past decade across the country, but are still relatively rare in Maine. The rooms are often themed and include hidden clues for the groups to figure out. There are several rooms in Portland and Bangor; Midcoast Escape Rooms opened in Damariscotta in 2018.

In her presentation to the board, Ford, who owns the vacation rental company, On the Water in Maine, said she decided to pursue the plan in response to the many requests she receives every year from tourists for group activities in the area.

Ford said several tenants will remain in the building for manufacturing, but there will be no retail at the site.

Cathe Morrill, the owner of State of Maine Cheese, called the developments “a work in progress.”

Ford will return for the May meeting for consideration of a site review application.

The board also heard a proposal to amend the subdivision known as Ridge Creek by reducing the number of units from 20 to 18 to accommodate changing the locations of several septic tanks. The subdivision is located on Commercial Street north of The Village at Rockport Condominium Estate and across from Down East Magazine. The board initially approved the subdivision in 2014. The amendment passed unanimously.

The board also unanimously approved a site review application from Buck Holdings LLC to construct a 2.6-acre work yard and access road on the land behind Plants Unlimited to store larger orders for landscaping companies and for extra inventory.

Board member Joe Sternowski raised concerns about the use of chemicals in the area that might contaminate the stream that runs through the property, to which Andrew Hedrich, representing Buck Holdings for Gartley & Dorsky Engineering & Surveying, said there was adequate space between the area and the stream to filter out any harmful chemicals.

Buck Holden, owner of Plants Unlimited, assured the board that the company does not use any chemicals, saying, “It’s not our gig. Our gig is to turn plants over fast.”