Candidates for Scarborough Town Council this year believe growth and new housing developments can be good for the town, but emphasize Scarborough needs to be smart in the way it grows.

Incumbents Jon Anderson, who is the current council chairman, and Jean-Marie Caterina and challengers Donald Cushing and Scott Doherty are vying for three at-large seats. The third seat is now held by John Cloutier who is not seeking reelection.

Doherty did not respond to multiple phone call requests for a candidate interview.

Anderson said multiple tools are in place to manage growth in a way that benefits the town. Caterina would focus on workforce housing but emphasized the need to continue conserving open spaces. Cushing said zoning changes could help generate more housing.

The three candidates each support the proposed K-3 consolidated school project on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Housing and growth


Anderson, Caterina and Cushing recognize the sometimes contradictory views of Scarborough residents about affordable housing and the pace of growth.


“The challenge that I see when it comes to the town and the things we have to consider is really around growth, affordability and investments in our community,” Anderson said. “All three of those things go hand in hand.”

Growth can keep property taxes low by spreading those taxes across more households, he said, but it also requires investments in the community’s services. He thinks the council has done well in making changes to its growth management ordinance while lowering restrictions for affordable housing developments in town.

The council has been discussing new impact fee policies to offset the costs of growth and Anderson said he would “love to continue to be a part of that.”

Caterina said the town must balance growth and land conservation, especially with climate change as a global issue. Her focus is on workforce housing, which is “the next step up” from affordable housing in terms of income, and that zoning changes to permit those kinds of developments may be needed.

She said a local hotel previously expressed interest in converting to workforce housing “but we didn’t have the zoning” in place. She’d like to explore allowing conversions of that kind.


“We’d like to have housing so that young folks can afford to live in a place like Scarborough,” she said, noting the town has done well in creating affordable and senior housing. “I’d love for my daughter to come home … She lives in Chicago and her rent in Chicago is cheaper than she could get in (greater) Portland. How bad is that?”

Cushing said the town needs to work with developers and on its zoning to remove barriers to creating more housing. He also said housing and growth is a complex issue that requires a community-wide approach and better communication with residents.


“There are no simple answers,” he said. “My impression of the people of Scarborough, as I attend the town meetings, is that we have a lot of smart people and we need to employ their expertise and their wisdom to tackle these problems.”

New school project

The three candidates support the proposed $160 million consolidated K-3 school project that will be on the November ballot. Anderson and Caterina voted this summer in favor of the land deal with The Downs that paved the way for the project. All three said if the proposal doesn’t get approved by voters in November it will be more expensive next time around.

Cushing said he was originally opposed to the project, in large part because it does away with the neighborhood-based primary schools. However, after analyzing the issue over the past months, he now thinks “the current council did their due diligence and they made the best of a bad situation.”


“The bad situation is that this problem should have been addressed by past councils many years ago,” he said. “I’m not sure how many temporary classrooms you need to figure out that you have a problem with the schools.”

Caterina said the council this year took the right action.


“I think we did a good job of weighing the upside, downside, pushing back a bit on the school board and really pushing back on (The Downs),” she said, noting that The Downs developers wanted the town to pay much more for the land than the final price of $7.2 million.

Anderson said he wishes more residents, especially those who oppose the current proposal, participated in the planning process.

“I would have loved to have seen a lot more people come to the meetings, come to the forums, be involved in the process,” he said. “If the school referendum fails, I hope the people who vote ‘no’ will really roll up their sleeves and come and get involved to come up with the next solution.”

Caterina, 68, a registered Democrat, is a real estate broker. She has served on the Scarborough Town Council since 2013 and is a former teacher.

Anderson, 38, a registered Democrat, has served on the council since 2020 and works in business operations for a veterinary diagnostic company. He is a club soccer coach, involved with Little League and a former library board member.

Cushing, 70, a registered Democrat, is the owner and president of Ocean Street Auto Repair in South Portland.

Voting will take place at Scarborough High School Alumni Gym at 11 Municipal Drive from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 7. For more information on voting and elections in Scarborough, go to

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