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Planning Board hears plans for hospital expansion, water treatment lagoons

By Daniel Dunkle | Apr 26, 2021
The dark gray shows the area that would be the new addition to the Pen Bay Medical Center Emergency Department. The addition will be made on the side where the present entrance is located.

Rockport — The Planning Board had a full agenda April 22 including pre-applications for a 5,000-square-foot addition to the Pen Bay Medical Center Emergency Department and two new water treatment lagoons at Mirror Lake.

Maine Water Company was up first with a presentation from Evan Jones of Jones Associates on plans for two 650,000-gallon lagoons at the Mirror Lake water facility at 855 Rockland St.

The lake has been the local drinking water source for about a century. Water is treated there both via the use of chemical treatments and a process called “air scrub.” The company produces an average of 3 million gallons per day and could eventually have the capacity to do 6 million gallons, the engineers said.

It serves 7,200 citizens in several area towns. The office was built at the site in 1996 and the first lagoons added in 2010 and 2011.

Since the Maine Department of Environmental Protection licenses the site, the Planning Board will not spend much time on the technical aspects of the project, but on how it fits into town ordinances and could potentially affect neighbors. The meeting was only in the pre-application stage and no votes have been taken on the project so far.

Will Gartley, of Gartley & Dorsky Engineering, presented plans for a 5,000-square-foot expansion of the Pen Bay Medical Center Emergency Department by building onto the existing entrance. The project will mean losing some of the parking spaces currently dedicated to that department of the hospital.

“There have been no upgrades to the Pen Bay Emergency Department since 1997,” Gartley explained in a letter to the board. “Daily census and activity logs demonstrate periods of time where there have been 22 patients in the Emergency Department with 13 rooms. Patients then are roomed in the hallways on a regular basis and Pen Bay’s security personnel are often exclusively dedicated to one-on-one scenarios with behavioral health patients. Patient and provider feedback reflect suboptimal efficiencies in patient flow and rooming. Additionally, they need to upgrade their electronic monitoring systems and provide more efficient triage and trauma rooms. Volume trending data indicate the need for expansion as well as specific attention to a dedicated behavioral health component.”

Again, this project is just in the preliminary pre-application and no votes were taken.

The Planning Board approved Jeremy Fletcher’s proposed construction of a 73-foot pier with a seasonal gangway and float at 55 Sea St. The project had already been vetted and approved by the Harbor Committee.

The board also approved a new greenhouse and retail operation on the border with Rockland.

Plants Unlimited owner Hammon Buck has purchased property near Ocean State Job Lots on which he plans to build a greenhouse and sell plants. The board set conditions for its approval including that it must have an erosion control plan, a letter from the water company showing it has adequate water, a lighting plan, relocation of the sign, and making sure the parking lot is graded properly up to the edge of the state road.

On the left is the existing Pen Bay Medical Center Emergency Department and on the right is the proposed addition.
Maine Water Co. has presented plans for new treatment lagoons at its Mirror Lake facility.
This part of the presentation to the Planning Board shows the proposed locations of the new lagoons.
The new pier approved by the Planning Board.
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