2013-05-24 / Community News

Commission files property suggestions

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

Earlier this year, Scarborough Town Council set a goal of taking inventory of town-owned properties.

The town’s conservation commission has been tasked with helping in that regard by looking at municipal land and reviewing existing site conditions and coming up with recommendations on how the properties could be used in the future.

On Wednesday, May 15, Peter Slovinsky, chairman of the conservation commission, appeared before the Town Council to share his committee’s recommendations on four such properties.

A similar effort in 2011, Slovinsky said, led to a New England cottontail rabbit habitat restoration project near the Wiley Recreation Area off Tenney Lane.

One property committee members looked at during their 2013 efforts was Hampton Circle, a 66-acre piece of forested wetlands that abuts state-owned conservation lands between the Nonesuch River and Libby River off Black Point Road.

Sincepublicaccessandfuturedevelopment “appear limited,” Slovinsky said the conservation commission recommends the property remains as it is now. Doing so, he said, would encourage natural marsh migration. The conservation commission also recommended leaving a 69-acre piece of property on Jasper Street by the Sea Ridge Subdivision as open space.

Slovinsky said the conservation commission would like to explore the possibility of allowing public access to 69- acres of forested land on Tibbetts Road near the Saco-Scarborough town line.

Slovinsky said the property has a history of being used as a dump site. Through the years, ATV riders have also used the property, which has frontage on the Nonesuch River.

“I am not convinced we should have this as another open space parcel,” said Town Council Chairman Ron Ahlquist. “The council has been looking at liquidating the town properties we can. I know there have been interested parties in that land.”

In 2010, Dennis and Susan Hall, who own abutting land, were interested in purchasing part of the property. That, however, didn’t happen.

One piece of property the conservation commission is keen on keeping as open space is Larrabee Farm, a 100-acre parcel that borders Tamarack Lane and Laurel Ridge Road. The property is also close to Comstock Farm, a cattle farm recently acquired by the Scarborough Land Trust for conservation and preservation purposes.

“The Commission recommends the town work to create readily available public access to the existing trails and natural features and actively showcase the wetlands mitigation efforts and enhance trail connectivity and access to the site,” read the analysis from the conservation commission. The group further recommends creating a small parking lot off Larrabee Farms Road to accommodate public access.

The property also has great education possibilities, Slovinsky said.

Slovinsky said the commission feels “it is an excellent site to showcase” some of the wetlands mitigation efforts and natural features through public trails and information kiosks.

The conservation commission, Slovinsky said, will look at additional town-owned sites over the summer months and come back before the Town Council with recommendations on what to do with those properties.

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