SOUTH PORTLAND — A Scarborough developer is seeking a zoning change that would allow the former St. John the Evangelist Church and parochial school to be redeveloped for a combination of commercial and multi-family residential uses.

Kerry Anderson of KDA Development in Scarborough wants to buy the former church property at 611 Main St. from the company that failed to win over neighborhood opposition to building a Dunkin’ Donuts on the site a few years ago.

Anderson has asked city officials to place the entire 2-acre property in the Main Street Community Commercial Zone. Currently, the front half of the property, including the church building, is in the commercial zone, and the rear half of the property, including the one-story school building, is in a residential zone that requires single-family housing.

Anderson wants to convert the 6,500-square-foot brick church into a commercial use and the 8,200-square-foot brick school into 10 to 15 apartments, said Tex Haeuser, the city’s planning director. Multi-family housing is allowed in the commercial zone and is in great demand in South Portland.

“The rezoning of the rear portion of the property would allow for parking for a commercial use of the church building and for a higher density for the school building,” Anderson said in his application for the zoning change.

Exactly what kind of commercial use, how much parking and what would be done with the 4,500-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom white clapboard rectory have yet to be worked out, Haeuser said.

Possible uses listed on Anderson’s application include a restaurant, a theater and multi-family housing.

“Future phases of development could include removal of the (rectory) and development of the corner lot,” Anderson said in his application. “We strongly believe that the redevelopment we are proposing will fulfill the vision set out in the (city’s) comprehensive plan.”

Anderson’s request is scheduled for a public hearing before the Planning Board on May 10. The City Council would have the final say in considering the zoning change.

Anderson didn’t respond to a call for comment Monday. City officials said Anderson has indicated a desire to save the church building, which he described as “beautiful” in his application.

Anderson has a purchase-and-sale agreement to buy the former church property from Cafua Management Co. of Methuen, Massachusetts, for an undisclosed price, according to his application.

Built in 1962, the church closed in September 2013 and Cafua bought it from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland for $731,000, according to city tax records.

The commercial zone allows a variety of mixed-use development but specifically prohibits drive-thru service and commercial operation from midnight to 6 a.m.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: KelleyBouchard


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