SCARBOROUGH — The Scarborough Planning Board approved future development for The Downs multi-phase development last week based on a traffic movement permit, or TMP, approved by the Maine Department of Transportation in August. The permit requires numerous traffic improvements to be made by Crossroads Holding, LLC to the site of the former Scarborough Downs racetrack.

On Nov. 22, Planning Board members unanimously approved a motion to allow development based on peak vehicle trips at The Downs site of 2,505 in the morning, 3,301 in the evening and 2,873 on Saturdays, provided developers follow requirements of the TMP and any local provisions.

Crossroads Holdings is redeveloping the 525-acre site of the former Scarborough Downs racetrack, which held its last live race Nov. 28, 2020. The Downs business district, which has about 50 or more businesses, is already sold out, ahead of schedule. The site will also include hundreds of housing options from single-family homes to apartments and condominiums, a town center for Scarborough, restaurants and other services and more.

The TMP was developed with the aid of traffic engineers by the town, the state and developers over about two years.

“This is an effort that’s been going on for some two years,” said Town Planner Jay Chase. ” … there’s been a lot of effort and history that’s gone into this review.”

The TMP requires Crossroads Holdings to make numerous road improvements within the site and to other roads expected to be impacted by the project in Scarborough as well as some roadways in South Portland.

“Town staff is satisfied that if the board were to adopt the findings of the TMP as conditions of approved for future development of the Downs that the associated traffic impact would be appropriate mitigated per our local ordinances,” Chace said.

Dan Bacon, on behalf of Crossroads Holding and the The Downs, said the design of the site is to drive most of the traffic to the highway. The site is near exit 42 of the Maine Turnpike. He said the design, which includes sidewalks and bike lanes facilitates walking and biking. In addition, developers are working with the town to facilitate mass transit within the site and within the town.

Under the TMP, developers are required to make traffic improvements between 2022 and 2026 instead of paying some impact fees to the town, which is usually required. Developers would not pay impact fees for traffic improvements the town is making at Oak Hill or the Payne Road. However, they would still have to pay impact fees for traffic improvements by the town at Dunstan and Haigis Parkway.

Design work for the traffic improvements to be undertaken in 2022 is underway. Developers hope to go out to bid this winter with construction to begin in the spring, said Tom Errico with T.Y. Lin International’s Falmouth office.

Some of the traffic improvements to be made in 2022, Errico said, include: making major upgrades, to widen, increase capacity and improve safety to the Payne Road and HolmesRoad/Scarborough Downs Road/Bridges Drive intersection, and make upgrades to traffic signals at five locations on the Route 1 corridor. Some of the future traffic improvements from 2023 through 2026 include: make Route 1 at Downs Road safer for pedestrian and upgrade signals, make intersection improvements at Route 1/Scarborough Downs intersection, improve Payne Road to the north, make improvements to some roads in South Portland, complete Route 1 improvements, complete construction of Center  Street and construction to Haigis Parkway and make pedestrian connections from The Downs to Cabela’s.

If in the future the trips associated with the site exceed those approved in the TMP, developers may be required to make further improvements, pay impact fees or meet other conditions.


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