The 250-year-old Long View Farm owned by Albert Erlon Mosher in Gorham. Robert Lowell / American Journal

The Gorham Planning Board Monday voted unanimously to recommend creating an agricultural industrial development zone replacing the rural district in the Mosher’s Corner area, but a lifelong Gorham farmer at the corner opposes the rezoning.

A zoning change would ban residential development. The measure would be in compliance with the town’s Comprehensive Plan passed in 2016. A zone change still requires the approval of the Town Council that sent it to planners for their recommendation.

“I’m not in favor of it,” Albert Erlon Mosher, who hopes farming there would stay in the family, said Tuesday.

The agricultural industrial zone would run along the easterly side of Main Street (Route 25) from near the Westbrook city line up to and along Mosher Road (Route 237). The proposal includes a significant portion of property between Mosher Road and the Presumpscot River.

A new zone would allow manufacturing, warehouses, retail stores less than 12,000 square feet, road and rail distribution facilities, hotels, mineral extraction and public utilities like pumping stations and sewage treatment plants.

The proposed zone is at the eastern gateway to Gorham with three pastoral places. Those are Walnut Crest Farm owned by Dale and Betty Rines; the non-profit Shaw Cherry Hill Farm, which is already zoned agricultural industrial; and Mosher’s Long View Farm.


Rines leases out pasture to a beef producer, the Shaws are creating a beef farm and Mosher harvests hay on his former dairy farm with 160 acres.

Provisions under the agricultural industrial zone say existing farms could continue but “new residential development should not be allowed in this designation.”

Accessory dwellings allowed on farms would be regulated.

Mosher would like the area to remain rural to make it easier to farm.

“I’m not fond of these restrictions,” Mosher said.


No one from the public spoke in Monday’s meeting, but Mosher plans to address the matter when it goes to the Town Council.


The Rines recently preserved 114 acres of their property as a Forever Farm; Jon Shaw of Shaw Brothers Construction has said previously their Cherry Hill Farm would never be sold; and Mosher said a grandson living in California is interested in returning to farm at the 250-year old family home.

Landowners would have an option as to which designation they want to be regulated under.

Gorham Community Development Director Tom Poirier read an amendment to the plan in Monday’s meeting that would allow “up to three accessory residential units allowed on any farm parcel in addition to the farmhouse.”

But, according to permitted uses under the proposed language, if the agricultural use ever terminated, accessory residences on farms could not be lived in.

“These restrictions are making it more difficult to operate a farm,” Mosher said.

Under the new zoning, a farmer would be permitted to construct agricultural buildings, such as a new cattle barn, to support the business. But a farm would not be required to meet performance standards that would apply to industrial uses.

“Design requirements would be for any development outside of agriculture,” Poirier said Tuesday.

Mosher said the area along the Presumpscot River is some of the prettiest in Gorham and he said the town wants to turn it into industry.

Gorham voters in 2019 approved investing $5.9 million to buy and develop 141 acres at another site further up Main Street from Mosher’s Corner to expand its current industrial park.

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