Cape Elizabeth council OKs village green guidelines

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The Town Council approved a zoning amendment that alters setback requirements to promote creation of a village green on Ocean House Road near Town Hall.

Councilors on Monday night also authorized $1.4 million for upgrades to the Recycling Center. The allocation also requires approval from residents in a June referendum.

The village green amendment, recommended by the Planning Board in September, was approved 6-1 Monday night following a public hearing. Councilor Sara Lennon was opposed.

The amendment gives developers the option of creating a village green. The recommendation is in line with a 1993 Town Center Plan, which promoted a village green built by the town.

Three members of the public spoke at the public hearing. One opposed the amendment; the other two, both Planning Board members, expressed their support.

The amendment creates side and rear setback requirements of 15 feet, with a 25-foot setback along the street. The 35-foot maximum setback in the rest of the Town Center District will not apply.

The intent of the amendment is to provide the town with a village green while giving developers an incentive to make their property more attractive.

According to the amendment, a developer who wants to build a project with a village green will need Planning Board approval, and will have to offer the green to the town. Councilors can accept the land, and agree to maintain it, or reject the offer but still allow the project if the developer provides a public easement across the open space.

Recycling Center 

The council accepted a 158-page report from the Solid Waste and Recycling Long Range Planning Committee last month. The committee was formed in December 2014 to find a long-term solution for improving safety and traffic flow at the Recycling Center.

The push for increased safety followed the death of former Public Works Director Herbert Dennison, 79, who was killed Nov. 24, 2014, when he was hit by a car and knocked into the center’s two-story trash hopper. Christine Sharp-Lopez, 72, was backing into the hopper area when she struck Dennison.

The committee is recommending that the hopper building be used for electronic waste, an office, the town’s radio communications system, and for stationary outdoor trash compactors for use by residents. There would be multiple lanes for only forward-moving traffic at the compactors, where residents could dispose of trash and recyclables. 

There would also be a bypass lane for residents who want to proceed to the Swap Shop, Bottle Shed, or other areas of the center, and traffic islands to separate the Swap Shop and Bottle Shed from traffic leaving the center.

The project must be approved by voters because under the Town Charter, councilors can’t unilaterally approve expenditures of more than $1 million.

Councilors Monday also authorized $700,000 for improvements at the Donald Richards Community Pool, which needs repairs to humidity control and disinfectant systems.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

A sketch of a possible design option for a Cape Elizabeth village green.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.
  • Mainer1

    Way to go Cape! Higher taxes for everyone!!!