SCARBOROUGH — Neighbors concerned about a proposal for a new parking lot and recreation area at Scarborough Beach will have to wait until next month to learn whether the plan will be allowed.
The Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously Wednesday to table until May 11 the proposal by Sprague Corp. for a 370-space grass parking lot, picnic and recreation area next to Scarborough Beach State Park. Earlier proposals would have created a 500 spaces.
“I looked at the new proposal, compared with the old version,” board Chairman Mark Maroon said. “They made the exact parking lot we were trying to prevent.”
Critics of the proposal have suggested the parking lot would disrupt traffic on the already busy Black Point Road and destroy farmland and protected piping plover areas. Neighbors have also cited the odor and visible effects of 370 cars.
Maroon was clearly displeased with Sprague on Wednesday night. Company President Seth Sprague was not in attendance.
“To anyone who thinks we haven’t been representing your needs, I think this will change that,” Maroon told the audience. “We, as a board, have tried to be reasonable. … (Sprague Corp.) now seems to be trying to use that middle ground against us.”
Sprague has stated previously that the proposed parking lot and recreation area would allow the company to keep the land in public use, rather than turning it into a residential development.
In a very brief presentation prior to the ZBA’s vote, Sprague Corp. landscape designer Terry DeWan said the new plan would move parking from the north section of the property to the west. He said new trees and shrubs have been added, and said open fires and barbecue pits would not be allowed on the property.
But Natalie Burns, an attorney representing two neighbors whose properties abut the Sprague land, said after the meeting that “the new plan does not meet any of our needs.”
After a nearly six-hour meeting last month and a five-hour meeting the month before on the same issue, it was clear many of the more than 30 people in the audience Wednesday were surprised that the board didn’t make a decision.
“I’m not sure what just happened,” Burns said after the meeting, surrounded by a number of neighbors, “but we’ll be back in May.”
Surfers thread their way through the fence at Scarborough Beach State Park, heading home after catching some unexpectedly good weekday waves on Tuesday, April 12. The town’s Zoning Board of Appeals is wrestling with a Sprague Corp. proposal to add a recreation area and parking for nearly 400 cars at the beach.
A bit of a breeze and early spring temperatures didn’t stop Jamie Scamman and his daughters, Isabelle and Anna, all of Windham, from collecting shells at Scarborough Beach State Park last Sunday.