The three candidates running for an open seat on the Scarborough Town Council are concerned about the pace of the town’s population growth but would bring different assets and experience to addressing the issue.

Finance professional Peter Freilinger, small business owner and property manager Nicholas McGee and lawyer Marty Topol and are vying for the seat left vacant when Paul Johnson resigned in March.

The Downs’ downtown development has requested permission to build 430 units over five years, doubling the 43 they are currently allowed per year. That has the candidates worried.


“My big concern is that we don’t have anything that assures the developers will follow through on their promise to develop a proper downtown,” Freilinger said in an interview with The Forecaster. “Until they do that with a binding commitment, the … exemption is just a blank check and I’m not comfortable with that.”

The exemption, Topol said, would be the first of its kind and should be carefully considered.

“I think it’s important to sort of do things deliberately and make sure that we’re comfortable with the control and the input we would have as a town going forward,” he said. “Especially when we’re considering setting the precedent with the first set of exemptions.”


The Enterprise Business Park in Scarborough recently inquired if requesting an exemption would be the best route for it to pursue so it could build a proposed 336 residential units.

McGee argued that any exemption could lead the council into legal trouble.

“I would worry about potential liabilities for the town,” he said. “What would be our justifications for saying ‘yes’ to 400 units in The Downs and then turning around and saying ‘no’ (to other developers).”

Growth has implications on capital improvement projects as well, they said, such as the library expansion, new community center and potential new school building. The candidates say the focus of those projects should not be solely on what is needed now, but what may be needed decades down the road.


“We certainly, I don’t think, want to duplicate 100% of the effort multiple times,” Topol said, noting as an example that there may be some overlap in the amenities the library and community center projects provide.

“The town is growing now, it’s growing in the near term, and I think is likely to continue growing,” he said. “I think part of what we need to be considering is what is Scarborough in 20, 30 years going to look like, and is a facility that appears to be bigger than people want now, or duplicative in some way now, going to feel that way in 20 years?”


Currently, the town is exploring different options to relieve the overcrowding in its schools, from building an additional primary school or consolidating schools in some way. McGee said that could impact the other future projects in Scarborough.

“This is going to take some major advanced planning,” he said. “If you do a larger K-2 school, and you consolidated them all into one … we have three buildings now that will not be occupied. Are they going to be repurposed? Are they going to become the community center?”

Freilinger agrees, noting that going with a fourth primary school poses its own set of challenges as well.

“We will need a pretty comprehensive plan for how we build that,” he said of a fourth school. “Then rotate the student body across those schools while we upgrade the facilities at Blue Point, Pleasant Hill and Eight Corners, because those facilities need enhancement.”


While the three candidates have similar views on the issues before them if elected, the assets they bring to solving those problems is vastly different.

McGee, 42, a registered Republican, has lived in Scarborough for 12 years and was a member of the town Planning Board for eight of them. More recently he served on the ad hoc Charter Committee. Both of those civic roles will serve him well on the Town Council, he said, especially the latter.


“Some people had just moved to town like six months ago, and then some people had been here for their whole lives, and then you had old, you had young,” he said of his fellow Charter Committee members. “I’m passionate about certain things, but the one thing that process really hammered home is you have got to listen, because there’s people that have different experiences and those experiences count for something.”

Freilinger, 47, a registered Democrat, moved to Scarborough in 2018 and quickly began serving on the Zoning Board of Appeals and Long Range Planning Committee. However, it’s his career in finances that he believes will be his greatest asset.

“I understand the dynamics of bond market financing and the dynamics of capital expenditure in particular,” he said. “I’m also well-versed in financial planning and analysis and how that incorporates both current and operational planning, as well as capital investment planning.”

Topol, 34, who is not registered in a political party, is a former intelligence analyst for the FBI and is now a lawyer.

“I think training as a lawyer is training in thinking critically about issues, assessing issues from multiple perspectives,” he said. “To gather information from a wide variety of sources, so you don’t sort of fall into a confirmation bias.”

Having moved to Scarborough 18 months ago, Topol added, he believes he can bring “a fresh perspective as a councilor on some of the issues.”

The council election aligns with a state primary and school budget validation vote on June 14. Polls will be open at the Scarborough High School gymnasium at 11 Municipal Drive from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information on elections and voting, call the Town Clerk’s Office at (207) 730-4020.

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