A former gas station on Main Street in Bangor will continue to sit empty after the city rejected a request to allow a marijuana dispensary to set up shop there and put the property to use for the first time in nearly 5 years.
The city Board of Appeals rejected Waterville-based Maple Valley Pharms’ request for a variance on March 24, scuttling the owners’ plans to buy 395 Main St. and set up a dispensary there.
The spot has been vacant since 2018, when Circle K closed a convenience store and Shell filling station that had operated there since 2012. The property was demolished in 2018 after Circle K closed a convenience store and Shell filling station that had been there since 2012.
The property remains on the market, though new owners wouldn’t be allowed to set up any enterprise that competes with a convenience store, limiting the range of businesses that could set up shop there.
Hunter and Tony Violette, Maple Valley Pharms’ owners, sought the approval of neighbors before approaching Bangor officials about exempting them. Bangor prohibits marijuana retailers from operating within 300ft of a residence.
Hunter Violette stated that he and his father had abandoned plans to purchase the property after the board rejected their appeal. They cited city rules and extensive deed restrictions.
The area of the city where 395 Main St. located is zoned for mixed-use retail, and allows marijuana stores under certain conditions, but deed to the property ensures only certain retail stores, like clothing shops, can operate there because of a restriction on selling food and beverages, Violette said.
He also said that the property needs to undergo an environmental study before it is renovated. According to code records, homeless residents of Bangor have sought refuge in the closed gas station since its closing.
Mac’s Convenience Stores, which operates Circle K, did not respond to a request for comment or questions about its deed restrictions. There’s a nearby Circle K convenience store at 545 Main St., located by the Cross Insurance Center.
A property sales listing noted that 395 Main St. was the deed. “restricts uses competitive with convenience stores.” The property broker said there was “ongoing continued interest”in the property from any other parties, but declined comment further.
“No one will spend millions of dollars to sell t-shirts there,”Violette spoke of the decline in brick-and-mortar clothes stores. “The owners don’t care if it sits there empty, literally forever.”
Commercial space is at a premium in Bangor as the marijuana industry has boomed, frustrating interested parties like the Violettes who want to take advantage of 395 Main St.’s optimum location.
The property is close to the Bangor waterfront, Cross Insurance Center and Hollywood Casino. It was also assessed last year at $460,000.