The Cape Elizabeth Town Council will hold a workshop this fall on the potential use of part of the Gull Crest Fields recreational area for affordable housing.

A 22.4-acre parcel at the nearly 200-acre site is feasible for a housing project but challenging, according to a report by the Sebago Technics engineering firm.  

The parcel is between the Wastewater Treatment Plant, Spurwink Marsh, the town transfer station and an old landfill that will soon be the site of a town solar array.

Potential obstacles to development are the sloping landscape, ledge and adjacent environmentally-sensitive land, the report said.

Sebago Technics recommended that if the town is interested in moving ahead on the site, it should hire a firm to investigate potential environmental impacts, such as landfill gas migration and soil conditions.

Councilor Penny Jordan said at a council meeting Monday that she would not consider moving forward with any housing at the site until it is determined to be safe.

“I think there is an ethical question that needs to be answered first,” Jordan said. “Does Cape Elizabeth (think) that affordable or workforce housing should be constructed near a capped landfill, a sewage treatment plant, an active dump and other environmental issues? … Many times we put the people who cannot afford certain things in places where there are health hazards. I personally want to understand what the health implications are.”

Amendments that would have allowed a specific style of affordable housing, described as “community housing,” at Gull Crest Fields were proposed by resident Cynthia Dill last summer. A petition to put them on the November 2022 ballot for a citizen referendum fell short by 39 signatures.

The council voted Monday to hold a public hearing on the report. The site is also included in a town-wide survey being distributed on behalf of the council’s ad-hoc Housing Diversity Study Committee. The committee expects to have the results of the survey in hand in mid-September.

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