Over the five years ending December 2021, the town of Scarborough grew by almost 1,600 housing units, an increase of almost 20% in that short period. That included almost 500 new single-family homes and 1,100 new multi-family units.

Crossroads Holdings, the developer of the Downs, is asking for an exemption from the town’s Growth Management Ordinance to build another 650 multi-unit dwellings in its planned Town Center to “activate” the retail and public component of this Town Center, which they will also build over the coming years.

The town’s GMO requires the developer to show a “public benefit” to receive the exemption they want. But most Scarborough residents will experience no public benefit from this project. A much-wanted pool and community center might be built in the Downs, but it will be financed by Scarborough taxpayers. That is not a “public benefit” provided by the Downs.

The Downs project was envisioned to take place over 30 years, not five years or 10 years. Just because these developers are in a hurry to cash out doesn’t mean the town is. We already have 31 portable classrooms at our schools, out-of-control traffic on our roads and relentless pressure on our natural resources. Slow the growth down and let the town adjust and adapt.

Allowing more rapid growth at the Downs provides the opposite of a “public benefit.” It is damaging to the quality of life here and ruining what we love about our town.

Susan Hamill