SCARBOROUGH – The Town Council on Wednesday unanimously rejected a proposal to rezone a parcel near the Interstate 295 connector from a residential zone to one that would allow a medical facility.

The proposal was contentious because the wooded property buffers the Green Acres neighborhood from the bustle of the I-295 connector and Route 1. Neighbors feared additional traffic, noise and light pollution and further encroachment by commercial development.

“Scarborough has really risen to the fore to provide lots of opportunities for business,” said Councilor Carol Rancourt. “I am very hesitant to change the (zoning) ordinance on a parcel abutting a neighborhood.”

The possible sale of the 6-acre parcel surprised both neighbors and Harvey Rosenfeld, president and CEO of the Scarborough Economic Development Corp.

The Maine Department of Transportation has owned the parcel since buying it in 1959 for an intersection project that never was built.

The economic development corporation proposed taking the parcel out of its current residential zone and making it part of the Business Office-Research district that lies across Route 1 and includes the Maine Medical Center campus.

Maine Eye Center needs the property rezoned if it is to move forward with its plan to move from its current space in Portland. It wants to build a two-story, 40,000-square-foot facility on the site, and says it searched for a suitable site for two years before homing in on the property.

The practice has about 100 employees and sees about 300 patients daily.

The project is expected to require $6 million to $9 million in investment, Rosenfeld said.

Councilor Richard Sullivan said Maine Eye Center would be an asset to the town, but not in that location. He said neighbors were reasonable to expect that the property would remain open space.

“I’m all for business coming to Scarborough, but business in the right place,” he said.

Neighbors organized to oppose the change and ultimately hope to prevent the sale.

Beth Caiazzo said her two sons have lived in their home their whole lives, and walk past the parcel every day.

“This would quite simply destroy the neighborhood,” she said of the proposed rezoning. “And my children will grow up knowing that the town favors commercial development over the enhancement of their neighborhood.”

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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