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Nursing home project ready for first review by Rockland board

By Stephen Betts | Oct 12, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts Michael Sabatini holds concept plans during a July 7 Rockland Planning Board meeting for the proposed nursing home to be located off Old County Road.

Rockland — The developer of a proposed regional nursing home off Old County Road is expected to meet Nov. 17 with the Rockland Planning Board for an initial review meeting on the project.

The "pre-application" meeting will review Sandy River's proposal for a single-story, 69,000-square-foot nursing home that would serve 90 to 110 residents. The new nursing home would replace the 84-bed Knox Center in Rockland and 39 nursing care beds at Quarry Hill in Camden.

The new nursing home would be taxable, with a development cost of about $20 million. The amount of property taxes from the center would be about $300,000 annually.

The center would be located on 29 acres that Sandy Rivers owns on Cranberry Isles Drive which is located off the east side of Old County Road near the Rockport town line.

The City Council gave unanimous approval Sept. 14 to a contract zone for the project to proceed. The project was backed by many people, but was opposed by neighbors who said it was out of character with a residential neighborhood, would worsen traffic and would create noise and light problems.

Coastal Healthcare Alliance — which operates Pen Bay Medical Center, the Knox Center and Quarry Hill — have said operating the Knox Center is not financially sustainable. The new home would have private rooms, which residents and families want.

The developer is required to conduct a traffic study that is peered reviewed. Diane Morabito of Sewall Company is conducting the traffic study. The results of the study will be provided to the city, so it can have its own review of that study.

Other conditions of the project are that deliveries will be restricted to business hours, noise mitigation for the heating and cooling systems will be developed and blasting for ledge will be done between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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Comments (3)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Oct 12, 2020 16:49

Shutting OCR off to heavy truck traffic will never happen. What should happen is the State of Maine highway dept should do their share of upkeep. I was never in favor of Rockland taxpayers paving its section of this road. It doesn't matter what anyone wants the big trucks need to have a road travel. Whatever happened to sharing the road? One cannot go anywhere without some vehicle on your tail wanting you out of their way.

Posted by: Robin Gabe | Oct 12, 2020 16:13

"The new home would have private rooms" - are all the rooms going to be private or only some? The two existing nursing homes have private and multi-occupant rooms. All private rooms would be a wonderful step in the right direction for resident satisfaction and would reduce some of the strife often occurring in nursing homes. I would also like to know if Sandy River will promise to refrain from using agency staffing if they aren't able to find enough licensed and certified staff to meet regulated staffing standards; agency staff rarely are familiar with residents and can result in a diminished level of care. My perspective is as a former nursing home administrator.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Oct 12, 2020 08:57

Would be a plus if the traffic study could reveal the number of heavy trucks that use Old County daily.  This also includes heavy trailers from the landfill and other "thru" truck traffic that use this road as a bypass.  The City could in conjunction with the State limit heavy truck traffic on this roadway, with good cause due to the fragile nature of OCR. Major work has been done over the past few years to fill a cave-in by the golf course and shore up a section between Talbot ave and the Thomaston line.  However, there is little political will do do such until something else happens.

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