2017-08-18 / Community News

Gateway Square receives board go-ahead

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

Gateway Square, a 32-plus acre piece of property on the corner of Haigis Parkway and Payne Road – envisioned to be an office park to complement the Gateway Shoppes across the street – sat empty for years as the property owner searched for the right project.

Now, nearly 10 years after the Gateway Shoppes opened – home of Cabela’s, Famous Dave’s Barbecue, Phantom Fireworks and a series of small retailers and restaurants – Gateway Square is set to move forward, albeit in a different form than originally proposed.

Last week, Devine Capital LLC, got the go-ahead needed from the planning board to progress with a 288-unit multifamily housing development at 275 Payne Road.

The plan, which gained unanimous support (chairman Corey Fellows and alternate Rick Duperre were absent), calls for the construction of 12 buildings, with as many as 24 units in each. Dubbed The Residences at Gateway Commons, the site is conceived to be a luxury apartment development aimed at lifestyle renters – those who are choosing to rent rather than buy – and will be filled with amenities not found in typical apartment complexes. These amenities will include a dog park, covered parking, recreational field, mail building and a clubhouse that will feature a game room, fitness space and an outdoor pool.

The property will be accessed via both Payne Road and Haigis Parkway.

Last Monday’s approval comes more than seven months after the project was first proposed and five months after it got the contract zone amendment approval from the town council it needed to go on to planning board review.

A contract zone amendment was needed because the project was too large and residential in nature to meet requirements of the zone the property sits in, the Haigis Parkway zone, which allows residential uses as long as 60 percent of a development is dedicated to commercial use. The Residences at Gateway Shoppes will be a solely residential endeavor.

“We have seen this project here a number of times,” said Planning Board member Nick McGee, who was filling in as chairman in the absence of Fellows. “It’s been a pleasure working with you. You’ve provided a lot of information. Your group has been very professional working with staff and the town and we appreciate it.”

“This looks like a very good project and I think we are all excited to see it move forward,” McGee continued, before reading a series of conditions that have to be met before construction, or occupancy can occur.

Those conditions included, in part, a traffic analysis and coordination of lights at Exit 42, a new storm water management plan to make sure flooding on site is taken care of properly, and the review of the sign by the planning department staff. The applicant will also be required to pay $700,000 into the town’s affordable housing fund – paid at the time each building is completed and $10,000 toward the town’s bus shelter initiative.

Planning board member Susan Auglis said she has “absolute faith” that the planning staff can work through those conditions with the applicant.

All in all, planning board member Roger Beeley was happy with the final project presented to the board.

“I think they have done an excellent job. I am looking forward to this project,” he said.

Bill Fletcher, an attorney with Fletcher, Selser & Devine and a representative of Devine Capital said his client and the developers are also excited about the project.

The Scarborough project is modeled after a similar facility Devine Capital recently built in East Lyme, Connecticut, and was part of a discussion in late 2016, early 2017 about growth rate in Scarborough, especially as it related to multifamily housing. As a result of the number of projects in the review queue or proposed, the council, in January, decided to up the number of growth permits in the reserve pool to 500 to go along with the 135 permits the town awards annually.

How growth permits are handed out, and which projects qualify for reserve pool permits is spelled out in the town’s growth management ordinance, which was set up in 2001 to control the rate the town was growing in the late 1990s/early 2000s.

The Devine Capital project has qualified for the reserve pool allocation, which will be handed out as the phases of the project are completed.

“However many units the developer decided to move forward with in a given year, the permits will be available,” Scarborough Planning Director Jay Chace said.

Beeley said that ensures the applicant “will be able to get the permits each year as we go through the phasing.”

Attempts to reach representatives of Devine Capital regarding the phasing of the five-phase project were unsuccessful.

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

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