The Gorham Town Council Tuesday unanimously tabled a plan to create a South Gorham Crossroads zone to allow multi-family housing and a mix of commercial uses while excluding single-family homes.

The measure would rezone a vast area from the westerly side of part of Brackett Road that is now zoned as suburban residential and rural. The new zoning area would include McLellan Road, Mahlon Avenue, Beatrice Drive, Sophie Lane, part of South Street, Washburn Drive and Straw Road. The tract also includes a large chunk of the state’s Narragansett Game Sanctuary where hunting is prohibited.

Allowable uses under the proposed change would include daycares, hotels, gas stations, light industrial, and retail stores.

The area is positioned to become a high growth area with its proximity to Westbrook, Scarborough, South Portland and the Portland International Jetport. The Maine Turnpike Authority plans to build a 6-mile connector from Gorham’s Bernard P. Rines Bypass roundabout on South Street to the pike’s Exit 45.

Peter Mills, executive director of the turnpike authority, told the council Tuesday it already has bought land in that area of Gorham, but does not yet have a permit for the project.

Town Councilor Virginia Wilder Cross favored stepping back from passing the zoning proposal. She wants to know “exactly where” the turnpike connector is going to go.


Town Councilor Phil Gagnon pointed out that Central Maine Power has a power substation in the area.

“This is a corridor for electricity,” Gagnon said and asked whether anyone had reached out to CMP.

Washburn Drive resident Kathy West, who owns 12 acres in the proposed South Gorham Crossroads, said her land would not be marketable under the change. Soils in her neighborhood would not support multi-family housing, she said, and she urged the council to reconsider.

Gagnon said residents feel they are going to lose equity in their property.

“I don’t believe we’ve heard enough from the community,” he said.

Harold Hawkes, owner of the inactive Gorham Country Club on McLellan Road, said it’s unfair that his neighbors would not be allowed to build single-family homes but residents elsewhere would.


“Throw it in the dumpster,” Hawkes said of the proposed zoning change.

The proposed South Gorham Crossroads area is not served by public water or sewer. Mills said the town should develop a plan to extend Sebago Lake water to the area. A market for multi-family housing won’t come without water, Mills said.

Town Councilor Seven Siegel said, however, that funding for water and sewer would not come until after a zone change.

In other action, the board 6-1, with Gagnon opposed, adopted the urban residential expansion district for the Gray Road, Libby Avenue and Queen Street area to comply with the town’s Comprehensive Plan passed in 2016.

The board also approved adopting the South Gorham Commercial Corridor along County Road (Route 22), and to include Blue Ledge Road and a lower part of South Street.

The board also unanimously approved accessory dwelling units. An accessory apartment is permitted in all zones that allow a single-family dwelling or where one exists.

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