Cape planners recommend zoning for village green

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The Planning Board Tuesday recommended the Town Council approve a zoning amendment for creation of a village green.

The amendment would alter setback requirements so a village green could be built on Ocean House Road.

The amendment would create side and rear setback requirements of 15 feet, and 25 feet for front setbacks. The amendment wouldn’t have a maximum front yard setback of 35 feet, which is a requirement of “all other uses” in the Town Center District.

A green and the development of four mixed-use buildings is proposed at 326 Ocean House Road, south of Town Hall. The development works in part with the Town Center Plan, created in 1993, and its recommendation for the town to have a village green.

The proposed development includes one two-story building and three three-story buildings. The two-story building, which would be closest to the street, would have a restaurant on the first floor and “multi-family dwelling units” on the second floor. The other three buildings would have offices on the bottom floors and residences on the upper floors. There would be a total of 17 residential units.

On Tuesday, following the concerns of a resident who spoke at the public hearing, Town Planner Maureen O’Meara clarified that the zoning amendment isn’t being proposed to accommodate the proposed development. Rather, she said, it’s so a village green could be built anywhere in the Town Center District.

Some Planning Board members expressed concerns over whether it may seem as if they are proposing the amendment for the benefit of one project. As a result, the drawing of the green and the development, which is attached to the amendment proposal, is being revised before being sent to councilors to show what a more general village green could look like.

Overall, though, the Planning Board said they are in favor of having a village green along Ocean House Road.

“I think correctly designed and nicely designed, it’s an asset for any town, and anyone that wants to offer that type of design would be an asset,” Planning Board member Henry Steinberg said. “I think it would improve the town dramatically.”

Once it goes to the council, the proposed amendment will be sent to the Ordinance Committee, which will review it and make adjustments. There will then be a council public hearing before the changes are approved or denied.

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

The plan for a village green  at 326 Ocean House Road in Cape Elizabeth includes four mixed-use buildings.

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.