Cumberland plans to have completed the construction of barriers, like these above at Sligo Road in Yarmouth, at the three crossings in town by the end of the summer. The barriers are a requirement for so-called quiet zone crossings. Contributed

After a decade-long discussion about noisy train horns, the Cumberland Town Council Monday approved spending $277,050 to create quiet zones at three railroad crossings.

Storey Brothers Excavating will install the barriers at the Greely Road, Tuttle Road and Longwoods Road crossings later this month. The safety barriers are required in order to establish the quiet zones. Without them, trains must routinely blow their horns when crossing the roads.

“I hate spending the taxpayers’ money but this is about quality of life,” Councilor Michael Edes said.

Resident Sally Brown was grateful for the solution to what she called a years-long problem for her family.

“We’ve had the misfortune of having the tracks near our house,” she said.

The cost of the project exceeds the amount the council allocated in March by more than $100,000, but the only other bid, from AH Grover Inc., was just short of $500,000.

“Construction costs have gone through the roof,” Chairperson Bob Vail said.

Construction should start by the end of the month and is expected to be completed by the time schools reopen, according to Town Manager Bill Shane.

The council approved the contract unanimously, with Councilor Shirley Storey King abstaining because of family ties to Storey Brothers.

Daycare zoning

The council unanimously approved a daycare zoning ordinance amendment to increase capacity to 50. Each daycare or nursery school that wants to expand its enrollment faces a planning board review so abutter’s can be notified, Shane said.

The measure would affect six daycare centers and nursery schools in Cumberland and save them from having to amend their original site plans to include more children.

Jaime Storey Kiesow, owner of Storey Time Learning Center on Middle Road, said state licensing allows daycare centers to enroll more children than the town allows. At a time when more than 100 daycare centers and nursery schools across Maine have shut down because of the pandemic, including some locally, the need for more spots is great, she said.

King agreed.

“This is a significant need,” King said, adding that one childcare program in Cumberland moved to North Yarmouth in the past year. King, who is Kiesow’s cousin, did not abstain from the vote on the daycares because it impacted more than just Kiesow’s business, she said.

Councilors asked questions about the increased enrollment’s impact on neighbors and traffic control.

Kiesow said traffic at her center would not increase greatly because most of the additional children would be siblings of those already in attendance. Kiesow said drop-off and pick-up times are also staggered across multiple hours.

New restaurant coming

The council Monday also voted to begin a contract zone agreement process to allow the construction of “The Grange at Longwoods” restaurant at 76 Longwoods Road. The 60 acre property that currently has a barn and farmhouse on site will be permanently conserved aside from a small area used to construct the restaurant, according to a proposal submitted to the council.

“The Grange at Longwoods will be a partnership with the functioning farm on the property,” according to the proposal. “We will source farm to table ingredients onsite, host farmers markets to help get produce to market, and host educational and community focused events to build awareness around the importance of supporting small local farms.”

The proposed restaurant, estimated at under 4,000 square feet, would feature local ingredients, including those produced on site, and host acoustic musicians, said  developer Alex Timpson with Adelphi.

Trails on the property will be available for public use, Timpson said and a sculpture garden is also planned.

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