ROCKLAND — A proposal to convert a historic Main Street building into a center for community events will go before the Rockland Planning Board on Dec. 6.

The Planning Board had a pre-application meeting on Oct. 4 in which much of the meeting was centered on whether the developer even needed to go before the Planning Board since the project is in an existing building in the downtown district.

The formal application filed Nov. 22 with the code enforcement office offers more details on the plan. The plan calls for two levels of retail space, two levels of restaurant space, three apartments, and a large assembly venue in the former church. The retail and restaurant spaces will be leased out to businesses.

The events center venue will be for weddings and large gatherings, dances and musical performances. An accessory space to the events center will include a bar and catering kitchen.

“This Main Street property has been underutilized for many years and the new owners would like to revitalize the building,” the application states.

Two additions to the building are proposed — one on the Main Street side to bring the building to the property line and the other on the Summer Street side to provide a large covered area for the events center as well as additional space for the apartments above.

Code Enforcement Officer Wyatt Philbrook said at the Oct. 4 meeting that an opinion from the city’s attorney offered the view that defended both that the project could be reviewed by the Planning Board or that it did not require Planning Board approval.

Adam Ackor, a former code officer for Rockland and former City Councilor who is a consulting contractor on the project, said at that meeting he would not have required the project to go before the Planning Board. Instead, the code office and staff would have reviewed it to make sure it met city ordinances. Ackor said former code officer John Root took the same approach when he was code officer.

Planning Board member Carol Maines, a former city attorney for Rockland and former City Councilor, disagreed that the attorney’s opinion indicated that a Planning Board review was not required.

Maines’ primary concern was about the impact of the project on parking and traffic. The formal application filed Nov. 22 that the development could attract an additional 225 vehicles but the average would be 136 and that would largely occur during off-peak hours.

The historic building is the former First Baptist Church, built in 1836 before Rockland was incorporated. The building has undergone numerous renovations and additions over the nearly 200 years, including the brick and steel renovations around 1959. Most recently, Scrimshaw Cannabis leased space in the building.

Robert Arena and Valerie Landsburg purchased the property in April.

An elevator will be added to the building.