The Raymond Planning Board has delivered a split decision on the town of Frye Island’s proposed Raymond Cape park-and-ride facility, delaying once more approval of the long-awaited parking lot.

The board voted 3-3 on the application Jan. 14, with Greg Foster, Ben Krauter and William Priest in favor, and Robert O’Neill, Steve Linne and Bruce Sanford opposed. The split vote effectively tables the application until the board’s next meeting on Feb. 11.

According to Danielle Loring, Raymond’s code enforcement administrative assistant, members of the board expressed concern that the proposal violates the town’s shoreland zoning provisions relating to off-site parking lots.

In March 2014, the board denied the island town’s original application for a 43-car parking lot and ring road on a 25-acre lot of undeveloped land across from Ferry Landing Road, on the grounds that the proposed four-way intersection with Cape Road and Ferry Landing Road was unsafe and that the proposed parking lot was too small. The advocacy group Friends of Raymond Cape fiercely opposed the original proposal.

On July 18, Frye Island submitted a substantially modified application for a 50-car parking lot on the same property, this time based on feedback from the Friends of Raymond Cape. The proposal, supported by the advocacy group, eliminates the proposed ring road in favor of walking paths, and replaces the 25-foot light poles with 12-foot lights.

“There are reduced lighting levels in the parking lot, and we’ve attempted to retain the rural character of the neighborhood by minimizing features like paving and unnecessary lighting,” said Mark Gray, Frye Island’s design engineer.

The application also sets the parking lot farther back from Cape Road, in an effort to maintain the area’s rural character.

But board members are concerned that the lot is set too far back, in violation of the shoreland zoning provisions, Loring said. According to the provisions, “off-site parking lots shall be allowed if they are within 300 feet of the lot containing the associated permitted use,” a measure intended to ensure pedestrian safety. In a memo to the board, the town’s attorney, Mary Costigan, suggested that although the proposal does not meet the 300-feet standard, the board could waive the requirement, as the proposal provides a safe pedestrian route to the ferry.

“They’re kind of like splitting hairs, you know,” Loring said, “whether or not the standard of meeting the 300-foot access drive could be waived.”

Another concern, Loring said, is the proposed 12-foot-wide paved sidewalk between Ferry Landing Road and the parking lot. The proposed sidewalk is designed to provide emergency vehicle access to the parking lot, as well. Board members expressed concern about the safety of the proposal.

“The concern is one, ‘Is it circumventing the ordinance,’ and two, ‘Would it be mixing emergency vehicle and pedestrian traffic?’” Loring said.

According to Gray, the initial proposal was to use a “hammerhead” turnaround at the driveway entrance, giving fire trucks a way to back into the lot. In response to concerns that people would park cars in the hammerhead, the mixed sidewalk-emergency driveway was proposed in its place, allowing emergency vehicles to enter the lot through the sidewalk and exit through the entrance on Quarry Cove Road.

According to Loring, the board is seeking further legal advice from Costigan on the various issues. In the meantime, Gray said, he has no plans to further modify the proposal.

“I’m not sure we have too many choices at this point,” Gray said. “It’s generally agreed this is kind of the best proposal we can come up with.”


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