Cumberland voters will decide Tuesday whether to let the town connect the dead end of Harris Road to Longwoods Road, which is part of Route 9.

The referendum on a proposed 500-foot extension of Harris Road is part of a contract zone agreement with a developer that the Town Council unanimously approved in July. The extension would make Harris – the town’s longest dead-end public way – a through street between Longwoods and Tuttle roads.

Developer Justin Fletcher owns 3.5 acres with a single-family road at 3 Longwoods Road, said Town Manager Bill Shane. Fletcher wanted to build a second house on the property, but town zoning requires 4 acres per house in that neighborhood.

Under the contract zone, Fletcher would give the town 1 acre where the extension would be built. In exchange, he would be allowed to divide the remaining 2.5 acres into two house lots.

Town officials approved the contract zone because the extension would satisfy comprehensive plan goals to improve traffic flow and public safety. Harris Road residents oppose the measure, saying it will increase traffic volume and speed through their neighborhood.

The extension would be built over an existing, gated dirt road that’s accessible to Harris Road residents and emergency vehicles, Shane said. Harris Road, which is 1.6 miles long, was connected to Longwoods in Falmouth until that town stopped maintaining the end as a “paper street” in the 1990s.

Fletcher could keep or tear down the existing single-family house, Shane said. In the end, one house on the two lots could be a single-family home and one could be a duplex.

– From staff reports

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