September 18, 2020

Unpublished notice delays rezoning action Bangor board to meet April 10

BANGOR – Members of the city’s planning board decided Tuesday to delay making a recommendation on a Larkin Street rezoning request because a public notice required by state law inadvertently was not published by the local daily newspaper.

A seven-day public hearing notice that the Bangor Daily News failed to publish on time last week was one of two notices that must precede a zone change, Assistant City Solicitor Paul Nicklas said.

The other is a 12-day notice, which was published on time, Nicklas said.

Though an unofficial poll showed all seven planning board members in favor of the rezoning, the assistant city solicitor, planning board members and staff were concerned that should the rezoning be challenged in court, failure to meet all the notice requirements could put the project at risk.

To keep the purchase arrangements on schedule, planning board members agreed to conduct a special meeting next week so that the rezoning request can go before the City Council for a vote on April 14, as originally planned.

The special meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, April 10, in the council chambers at City Hall.

Nicklas said that the original 12-day notice would still satisfy the legal requirement for the next meeting if the planning board continued Tuesday’s hearing to April 10.

The newspaper will then be asked to publish a seven-day notice in Thursday’s edition, according to city staff.

The rezoning of 24 Larkin St. from general commercial and service district to neighborhood service status would pave the way for the redevelopment of the historic Brown & White Paper Co. building, which has housed a paper goods and party supply business since the late 1960s.

The building’s owner, Mike Reed, put the building on the market last fall, citing a drop in business attributed to the building’s location, which is set back from Main Street, and competition from chain stores.

Now Bangor developer William Masters wants to acquire it and convert it into a mixed-use building that would have 10 apartments on the middle two floors and five professional office suites on the top floor and basement.

Masters said he has no plans to alter the building’s facade, though he does plan to remove a loading dock addition as well as some of the pavement in front of the building.

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