2016-12-02 / Community News

Protection of Red Brook is board’s priority

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

The town has, in recent years, spent a lot of time and resources to revive the Red Brook watershed, an urban impaired stream that crosses through a section of Scarborough by Running Hill Road and members of the planning board want to make sure a subdivision proposal at 93 Running Hill Road won’t impact that work.

The planning board got its first look at a proposal from Merle Hartford that would create two new house lots on the corner of Running Hill Road and New Road, as well as rehabilitate an existing house on site.

“I enjoy fixing properties. The house is very run down. I’ve been there for seven weeks, working six days a week and I’ve got it spiffed up,” Hartford told the board, which included new members Rachel Hendrickson (first alternate) and Richard Duperre (second alternate).

Hartford has lived on New Road, two doors down from the project site, for 20 years.

At issue is the site’s proximity to the Red Brook watershed and the town’s aquifer protection overlay district, which requires more stringent environmental controls. According to the zoning ordinance, the aquifer protection overlay district is aimed at “protecting the quality of the groundwater in significant sand and gravel aquifers by managing land use activity and development that occurs in the areas located above these deposits” from things like “improperly functioning subsurface wastewater disposal systems; spills of heating oil, commercial chemicals or petroleum products; improper use of agricultural chemicals and fertilizers and the impact of untreated stormwater runoff.

While the property is not in the protection district, board members wanted the developer to be mindful of the project’s impact to the area nonetheless.

Planning board member Susan Auglis said while she thinks it is a good idea and doesn’t “have any problems with it in general,” she wants to “make sure the watershed situation is closely monitored.”

Nick McGee said “it seems like there is some need for some protections to be put into place because of the proximity to the aquifer.”

Planning board member Roger Beeley said he will put his faith in the planning department staff to work out any issues that may exist regarding watershed or aquifer disturbance.

Town Engineer Angela Blanchette said she feels the project’s stormwater and erosion/ sediment control plan is “heading in the right direction.”

Board chairman Corey Fellows said because the aquifer boundaries are not fixed and are apt to change over time, he wanted to err on the side of caution.

“We got some details to work through before we get to the final phase,” he said.

Steve Blake, an engineer with BH2M, said he would present a “conceptual layout” and the total impervious area created and disturbance to the area at his next meeting with the planning board.

Aside from reviewing Hartford’s proposal, the board also passed a favorable opinion to the zoning board of appeals regarding a construction/renovation project at 3 Griffin Road. Because the house is non-conforming, homeowner Elena Frank needs a ZBA approval to undergo improvements to her home.

Senior Planner Jay Chace said the house is non-conforming because it is located in the town and village center zone, which prohibits single family homes. When the home was built in the 1940s, however, it conformed to the zone in place at that time.

The ZBA could permit the plan, which would include the construction of a porch, garage and storage shed, as long as it is compatible with the rest of the neighborhood. Frank said she and her husband have been working on updating the property since they purchased it as first time homebuyers in 2011.

At that point, she said, it was a neglected and forgotten piece of property. As part of the rehabilitation, a new roof was installed, the house got interior and exterior remodeling, as well as new siding and doors.

“We took pride in the project and wanted to breath life back into the house,” she said.

The ZBA approval would allow the couple to continue the home improvements, which she said would increase the value of the home and neighborhood and give them a place proper storage.

“The house was an eyesore and the property was taken care of and now it is shining,” Frank said.

Frank’s project is not the only home improvement on Griffin Road, a short dead end off Route 1 near Pine Point Road. Frank said many of her neighbors are also improving their homes and Risbara Construction is about to start construction of a 36-unit senior citizen housing project next door at 5 Griffin Road, a project Frank welcomes.

“I don’t think it will be a problem,” she said of the impact to her property, which she said is set back and buffered enough from the construction site.

Frank’s appeal will go before the ZBA for final determination Dec. 14.

The planning board also reviewed a request for a parking lot expansion from Bei Capelli at its new location at 300 Roundwood Drive. The beauty salon purchased the property in April from Mougalian Rugs, which had been at the site since the 1970s and will be reopening at 175 Anderson Street in the East Bayside section of Portland.

Todd Gammon from Blais Civil Engineers, said Bei Capelli, which was previously located at 450 Payne Road, needs more parking than the site allows and is requesting 30 more parking spaces towards the back of the building. The parking is needed, Gammon explained in a letter to the Chace, to accommodate the number of employees and customers that come to Bei Capelli, which will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekends.

“It seems like a wonderful expansion of a company that is already doing great in Scarborough and that wants to stay in Scarborough,” Auglis said.

The concern is the impact of additional run-off due to more impervious surface into the decades-old detention pond.

The detention pond, Gammon said, was designed to accommodate the Roundwood Subdivision with the assumption that 70 percent of each lot would be impervious surface. Even with the parking expansion, Gammon said Bei Capelli’s lot is below that threshold.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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