2018-04-13 / Front Page

First phase for Scarborough Downs approved

By Grant McPherson Staff Writer


The planning board approved the conceptual master plan for phase one of development at Scarborough Downs on Thursday, April 5. Next, developers will be able to construct more specific design examples and begin permitting under the town’s subdivision and site plan review processes, apply for permits from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Natural Resource Protection Act and Army Corps. of Engineers. The first phase (right) of development includes an approximately 50-acre section closest to Route 1 between Technology Way and Mill Brook. The development is expected to include single-family homes, multi-family apartments, condominiums and a memory care facility. (Courtesy images) The planning board approved the conceptual master plan for phase one of development at Scarborough Downs on Thursday, April 5. Next, developers will be able to construct more specific design examples and begin permitting under the town’s subdivision and site plan review processes, apply for permits from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Natural Resource Protection Act and Army Corps. of Engineers. The first phase (right) of development includes an approximately 50-acre section closest to Route 1 between Technology Way and Mill Brook. The development is expected to include single-family homes, multi-family apartments, condominiums and a memory care facility. (Courtesy images) The Planning Board unanimously approved the Conceptual Master Plan resubmission for phase 1 development of Scarborough Downs last week, which developers hope to begin work on by midsummer.

Board members listened to a presentation on the project, Thursday April 5 at Wentworth School. The first phase of the redevelopment project consists of 50 acres closest to Route 1 between Technology Way and Mill Brook.

Crossroads Holdings, LLC owns about 500 acres total on the current Downs property. Dan Bacon, planning project manager for Gorrill Palmer, said the first phase will include 56 multi-family apartment units, 24 condominium units, 24 duplex cottage units, 30 single family homes and a 1.4 acre 12- bed memory care facility. Other aspects that are being considered by developers but are not yet final include a dog park, community garden and package delivery kiosk.

“It’s going to consist of small lots in a compact neighborhood,” Bacon said. “To compensate and balance we’re going to provide other areas to have some additional space to gather. The project is 40 percent open space. We’ll have trail alignments connecting the two neighborhoods and not only connecting them but engaging with future phases, the state property to the east, Sawyer Road and the town campus.”

Board members’ focus of the evening was approving the space and bulk standards for the development project in accordance with town ordinance. Board member Rachel Hendrickson initially said she was concerned about approving 2,500-square-foot lot sizes, which could create a cramped neighborhood if not executed properly.

“I’ve read information on pocket neighborhoods and what makes a good one,” Hendrickson said. “I’m not convinced one is possible here, it may be possible. I don’t know. The apartment buildings look out of proportion to the rest of the site. I’m not against them so much. Still, I worry about big blocks sitting right there on the street corner.”

Board member Susan Auglis said the architectural renderings of the proposed buildings left something to be desired, but Bacon said they have not finalized the architectural design at this phase of the project.

Another point of concern was the developer’s request for a zero-foot setback in some areas of the development, which board members worried could result in houses being built to close to the street.

“If we’re allowed the zero-foot we’ll have more room to work,” said Roccy Risbara of Crossroads Holdings, LLC. “We’re working in a constant curve in this subdivision and we’re looking for flexibility from the board to allow us to place these houses.”

Risbara also said the number of parking spaces for the multi-family units still has to be decided, but expected to have 1.5 to 1.75 spaces per unit. Overflow parking for snow removal also remains to be finalized. Beautification work will take place at the intersection of the Downs Road and Route 1. Risbara said there are no plans for traffic lights at the Downs Road intersection for phase 1 of the project, but that a change is likely as development continues.

Planning board vice chairman Nick McGee said the board could compromise on the setback issue as the language was changed to incorporate more compromise.

“Based on what we just saw I think this development is going to be a very impressive piece,” McGee said. “I don’t think anyone here wants to handcuff you on your work. As long as the language incorporated allows for flexibility I think that will give us piece of mind to get to the next phase.”

Staff Writer Grant McPherson can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

Return to top