Restricting major development to the eastern side of the Turnpike is one of the major goals that the Scarborough Comprehensive Plan Update Committee is looking at in its review of the town’s comprehensive plan.

“We’re not encouraging extensive development west of the highway when the services aren’t there to support it,” said Richard Shinay, co-chairman of the committee.

The committee is finishing its review and update of the comprehensive plan and is going to host a public forum on Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. at the high school cafeteria (with a snow date of Jan. 26) to discuss the future land use plan.

The future land use plan is the portion of the comprehensive plan that designates where growth should occur. The document gives the committee’s recommendations and outlines what development can occur. Copies of the plan will available at Town Hall and also on the town’s Web site at www.scarborough.me.us.

“I don’t think there’s anything overly controversial in this plan,” Shinay said. “We aren’t doing anything radical.”

The committee has determined the majority of land east of the turnpike should be set aside for growth while the land west of the turnpike should remain as a limited growth area.

The plan does not recommend bringing water or sewer lines across the Turnpike, which will reduce residential density allowed there and allow the area to keep its rural character. Additionally, the plan looks to slow population growth, saving the town from having to build additional infrastructure to handle the increased number of residents.

“Once water and sewer lines are available you can have higher density residential development and that changes the character of the area,” said Sylvia Most, co-chairman of the update committee.

The plan does recommend that sewer and water be extended to the Running Road Hill area from about the South Portland line to the New Road area and the Gorham Road area west of the Turnpike. The committee hopes the added services will help spur commercial development there.

The plan recommends that in some areas developers receive a 10 percent density bonus for housing projects where at least 33 to 40 percent of the units are affordable.

The plan also provides developers with more opportunity to build a wider array of housing including apartments, condominiums and smaller houses, which will provide more variety than what is currently being built. Multi use residential/business buildings would also be permitted under the plan.

Additionally, there is also a provision allowing for a 10 percent bonus for projects that provide land for conservation in designated rural areas.

The plan also strives to keep neighborhoods together, allowing them to retain their identity by specifying that residential and very limited non-residential development be designed to minimize the effect on the area. “We don’t want to end up obliterating these historical sections and make them homogenized,” Shinay said.

Commercial development is encouraged in areas where commercial businesses already exist. And the Oak Hill area is identified as a possible site for a sort of downtown designed to link the area together. Shinay said the vision is to make this area similar to Knightville in South Portland.

The plan also specifies that most of the commercial areas in town allow for small businesses such as restaurants, offices, small-scale retail and financial institutions.

Scarborough Downs and the surrounding property from Rt. 1 to Payne Road falls into a category called the Crossroads Mixed Use Development, which is intended to be the new heart of Scarborough. The committee also recommends that a master plan of the area be developed to plan for the future growth of the area.

One possible scenario for the area could include a dense neighborhood with community-scale retail and service uses, housing, municipal and community service uses and employment opportunities.

The comprehensive plan is only a recommendation and the Town Council must make any changes. Implementing the plan’s recommendations is a key question and members of the committee are now working on a method on how the plan would be implemented in a reasonable time frame.


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