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Revised Plans For York Courthouse In Biddeford Being Discussed Early Feb.


Rendering provided to the city council by Gorrill Palmer

This is an architectural rendering of what the proposed new courthouse in Biddeford will look like when it is built to cover all of York county.


Changes have been made to the proposals by architects for the 28.5 acre site, which is between Elm Street and Hill Street in the city. The plans are being discussed by the city's planning board on February 5.


The building will consolidate all of the district and superior courts in York county into one four-story Judicial Center with 120,975 square feet of space and a building footprint of 34,545 square feet. It will house jury and non-jury courtrooms, with secure parking for judges and staff, with separate public parking. At its highest point it will be 68ft high, and the majority of the building will be over three stories, with the fourth story holding equipment (air conditioning, ventilation and heating).


The new building has raised objections from people living near it. The judicial center is about twice the height normally approved in that area. The city council held a procedural vote in September last year (they voted to endorse a contract zone) that would allow a building this size to go on that site. About 30 % of the highest sections are four stories. Additional space has been created on the north end of the site to accommodate the concerns raised.


The new project is part of an ongoing project to upgrade aging court facilities in Maine, being pushed by the state's Chief Justice Leigh Saufley. During her State of the Judiciary address in January she updated lawmakers in Augusta on the improvements to judicial facilities that have been made and that are in the works.


York county is Maine's second most populous county (204,191) behind Cumberland county (292,500). York county's four court locations dealt with more than 16,000 cases in 2018, the last available figures.

York Superior Court, Alfred

The superior court building in Alfred was built in 1806, then expanded, and rebuilt after a fire. A recent report raised concerns about security, that it was overcrowded, and lacked facilities and technology.


If the planning board approves the proposal, it would still need final approval by the city council. It is expected that the project will be completed in the fall of 2022. The project is being funded from borrowing approved by the state legislature in 2015 to fund improvements to courthouses in York, Oxford, and Knox counties.


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