The Scarborough Town Council gave preliminary approval last week to a new retirement home complex proposed for Elmwood and Maple avenues.

Built on 65 acres, the retirement community, which will now go to the Planning Board, would include 118 apartments in the main building, which would be built in the initial phase, and 10 cottages, to be built in a second phase. The project would offer assisted-living services and full health care.

The proposed community is partly in a residential zone and partly in a resource protection zone, meaning the town would have to amend the residential zoning to permit development.

At a meeting Oct. 1, several residents raised concerns about the development, proposed by Harvest Development, including how high some of the buildings would be and proximity of the cottages to Elmwood Avenue. Another expressed concern that Second and Third avenues could not support addditional traffic. A third wanted to know whether the development would spur more weekend traffic.

Scarborough Library Director Nancy Crowell, whose parents live in the Woods at Canco, a retirement facility Harvest Development built in Portland off Canco Road, urged town councilors to be sure there would be sufficient parking, and that walking trails were paved and kept even in order to make it safe for elderly pedestrians.

“You don’t want to underestimate what you need for parking,” she said.

Councilor Michael Wood expressed concern about avoiding a repeat of issues that had come up related to noise from police, fire and rescue sirens arrrive at the Woods at Canco.

Councilor Ron Ahlquist said he’d like “public transportation be part of the development.” Ahlquist also urged caution when amending the zoning to permit development. He expressed concern that when the Town Council approved zoning changes allowing retail development around Cabela’s outdoor store, it was done too quickly and created traffic congestion.

Chairman Jeffrey Messer said he would like to see a new sidewalk built on Green Acres Lane.

Owens McCullough, of Sebago Technics, an engineering consulting firm, said he expected “a very low volume of traffic” in and out of the property – two trips daily for each resident – because only 25 percent of residents are expected to drive.

Sebago Technics is also working with town staff on traffic calming for the neighborhood. Strategies include preventing access to Sunset Road and First Avenue from the Scarborough Connector and Green Acres Lane.

The development would also include a trail linking Woodspell Road to Elmwood Drive and 33 acres of open space that would be conveyed to the town for conservation.

“Landscaping will be a very important part of the project,” said McCullough.

In the next step, Harvest Development will submit a more detailed proposal to the Planning Board on the engineering techniques to be used to build the complex, according to Town Manager Ron Owens.

Once that is done, the Town Council will authorize a second reading and public hearing on the proposal, a time line that could take up to two months.

Harvest Development has designed, built and managed 300 retirement complexes in the United States and Canada, McCullough said.


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