2017-12-01 / Front Page

Board weighing Prompto Oil proposal

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

After several years of conversation between developers and planning staff, a concept to build a Prompto Oil facility at 318 Route 1, across the street from America’s Best Value Inn is being considered.

“This is something we talked quite a bit about,” planning director Jay Chace told planning board members at their Nov. 20 meeting.

The proposal unveiled at the meeting, is still at the sketch plan level, a part in the permitting process that allows the applicant to describe the project and board members to give initial feedback before a more detailed site plan is submitted.

Chace said assuming the work is done inside, per Scarborough’s zoning ordinance, the use is considered retail sales and is permitted by right in the business 3 zone.

Shawn Frank, an engineer with Sebago Technics, a South Portland firm that is helping Prompto Oil through the design and permitting process, said the plan is to construct a 1,650-square-foot one story cedar-shingled building with a full basement, where the oil change is done. Like at other Prompto locations, which number 17 in Maine and seven in New Hampshire, customers will drive into the property and queue in line and wait in their vehicles until it is their time to enter one of the three vehicle bays.

Because of the amount of traffic on Route 1 and a divided highway just south, the property will only be accessed through a right-in/right-out driveway.

“We’d be very excited to be in Scarborough,” Kevin King, a representative of Prompto Oil said.

Scarborough is being targeted, he said, because many of the customers in Scarborough get service at Prompto’s location by the Maine Mall, a location that is already overwhelmed. The Scarborough site would be open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oil changes typically take no more than 10 minutes.

An old house and driveway on the property will be demolished as part of the project. Jeff Quirk, who owns the property, said the derelict building was moved further back when Route 1 was widened in the late 1960s and hasn’t been occupied since then. Quirk had looked at the building to be an office for his oil company, but backed away from that plan.

“It is in pretty rough shape. There is no historic value,” Quirk said in response to a question from board member Rachel Hendrickson.

Much of the board’s questions had to do with vehicle access through the site and how the oil in handled, both the oil that is delivered and stored on site for the vehicles and the waste oil removed from vehicles. King said the company, which started on Forest Avenue in Portland in 1984, has a oil operating procedure and meets the local, state and federal regulations.

King said the oil is delivered by a box truck and filtered into the facility via hose. The process is repeated when oil is taken off the site. Board member Robyn Saunders said she was concerned with loading and unloading being done so close to Mill Brook, which cuts through a small section of the property.

King said in the 30-plus years the company has been in business, it has never had a leak or spill.

“I think it will be a great business for Route 1,” planning board member Roger Beeley said.

Chairman Corey Fellows agreed, saying the project looked “promising.”

The planning board also reviewed sketch subdivision plans for Rosewood Land Development’s Tucker Woods subdivision at 158 Payne Road near Heritage Acres. Frank, who is also helping Roseland Development get permitting for the project, said the property could accommodate as many as 24 lots, but only 14 are being proposed. Eleven acres of the property will remain open space. The question that plagued the planning board wasn’t the number of lots, but rather should the development be tied into the sewer system – a requirement of a conservation subdivision – or be on private septic systems.

The abutting Heritage Acres subdivision is on private septic systems, many of which has failed over the years.

Frank said the closest sewer is 3,000 feet away at the Bonney Grove Drive, meaning the Tucker Brook subdivision would need a long sewer extension and pump station to tap into municipal sewer.

“From an economic standpoint, it doesn’t make sense for us to proceed in that direction,” Frank said.

Frank said some of the systems in the Heritage Acres subdivision are 40-years old and he and property owner Joseph Frustaci doesn’t imagine a similar issue in the Tucker Brook subdivision. Frank said soil testing indicate septic systems would do fine on the property. Frustaci said the systems that went in when the subdivision was constructed in the 1970s were not built as well as systems are now.

“I’ve built a number of septic systems and not had a problem with them,” said Frustaci, who has been in the building trade since the 1970s.

“We are certainly comfortable in getting 14 systems in here that would operate fine,” Frank said.

Planning board members were also comfortable with the property being on septic, although Saunders isn’t ruling out sewer there just yet, saying there may be a way for the two neighborhoods – Tucker Brook and Heritage Acres – to partner to get sewer in that area.

“I understand (that cost) is usually picked up by the developer. If we have failing septic systems in Heritage Acres, it seems to me, there is more and more demand there for sewer,” Saunders said.

Beeley said he is fine with septic systems at the subdivision.

“It doesn’t seem to make sense to me to mandate this project to have sewer if Heritage Acres, which is upland, doesn’t have it,” he said.

“If you can make it work with the soil and not experience the issues the other neighborhood has, that would satisfy me,” planning board member Nick McGee said before suggesting the developer run pipe out to Payne Road in case sewer ever comes to that part of Payne Road.

Chace said in talking with Scarborough Sanitary District Superintendent David Hughes, the district has no plans, at this time, to expand the sewer line along that section of Payne Road.

Hendrickson said that could change soon.

“The time is coming to look at sewer all along Payne Road as more development comes and traffic gets heavier along the road. Now may be the time to decide if we should put service on Payne Road,” she said.

Before representatives of Rosewood Land Development is back for a site plan review, the board asked Chace to check in again with the sanitary district about the possibility of sewer in that section of town.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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