The 250-year-old Long View Farm in Gorham, owned by Albert Erlon Mosher, faces a possible rezoning from rural to agricultural industrial. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Gorham next month will revisit a proposal to rezone sprawling farmland in the town’s Mosher’s Corner neighborhood at the intersection of routes 25 and 237.

The rezoning from rural to agricultural industrial would bring the area into compliance with the town’s Comprehensive Plan passed in 2016, according to Community Development Director Tom Poirier. It would open up opportunities for future commercial uses where public water and sewer are located. Residential subdivisions would be prohibited.

Dale Rines Robert Lowell / American Journal

But Councilor Phil Gagnon, Dale Rines of Walnut Crest Farm and Albert Erlon Mosher of Long View Farm spoke out against the proposal at a council meeting last week.

Gagnon criticized the town’s process about rezoning a “large swath” when the landowners didn’t seek a change.

“What are we doing, forcing people out of their legacy properties?” Gagnon said. “The landowners who are here don’t like it.

Rines and Mosher are both descended from the town’s earliest settlers. Rines’ forebear, Capt. John Phinney, was the first in 1736 and Daniel Mosher, the second or third in town, arrived in 1738. Walnut Crest Farm has been in the Rines family since the 1890s and Long View Farm was started by Mosher’s ancestors in 1770.


A rezoning would impact the two farms, which sandwich the nonprofit Shaw Cherry Hill Farm that is already in the new zone.

Albert Erlon Mosher Robert Lowell / American Journal

Rines contends that the Comprehensive Plan says “we have a choice” of staying in the rural zone or going to the agricultural industrial district, and Mosher spoke against the change as well.

Rines urged that the proposal be delayed until everyone could get up to speed concerning some wording about rules for accessory units on farms that were included in an amendment the council unanimously approved March 7.

“The devil is in the details,” Rines said.

Rines’ and Mosher’s farms are at the eastern gateway to Gorham and near the Westbrook city line.

Rines’ Walnut Crest Farm once was a dairy and previously raised beef, sheep and horses. Today, it produces hay and the pasture is leased to beef producer Ben Hartwell. The farm’s beginnings trace back to a 1730 land grant.

Mosher on doctor’s orders sold his dairy herd in 1987. Since then, he has grown sweet corn for the family’s farm stand  and now harvests hay. He said his grandson is interested in returning from California to take over the farming operation and he hopes the town won’t put restrictions on the property.

The Town Council March 7 tabled action on the proposed zone change until April.

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