The Gorham Planning Board Monday tabled a decision on two proposed zoning changes after hearing from several residents in a packed meeting.

The board was to consider changing an area in the vicinity of South Street to Brackett Road from rural and suburban residential to the urban expansion district and the nearby vicinity of New Portland and Lowell roads from rural to suburban residential.

The South Street and Brackett Road area lies within the state’s 3,600-acre Narragansett Game Sanctuary, which protects a deer herd. Wildlife was one concern of area residents on Monday.

Its intended use was a “game preserve not a development,” Christopher Jacques of Elkins Road said.

While hunting is prohibited in the wildlife preserve, development is not forbidden, Town Planner Carol Eyerman said.

“Just because it’s allowed doesn’t mean it’s a good idea,” said Day Road resident Roger Brown.


The zoning changes are part of the comprehensive plan the town adopted in 2016. The Town Council recently asked the Planning Board to hold a public hearing on the changes and provide a recommendation implementing them.

Planning Board member Seven Siegel said the comprehensive plan also cites wildlife protection.

Rick Foley of Newton Drive suggested the Town Council should revisit the comprehensive plan. Foley worried about the impact of dense development on the aquifer.

“I’m on a well,” he said.

Other concerns about opening the area for increased housing development included wetlands and the impact on schools.

Planning Board Chairman Jim Anderson said there is more information to consider before moving ahead.

The issue ultimately will be in the hands of the Town Council.

Thomas Hughes has stepped down from the Planning Board after 18 years of service.

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