Cape's 'most complicated ordinance' moves forward
Panel puts Shore Road home in business zone
CAPE ELIZABETH — The Ordinance Committee unanimously approved the rezoning of 553 Shore Road into the Business-A district along with other changes to the BA zone on Tuesday.
The decision must be approved by the Town Council, which is expected to hold a public hearing April 13 on the zoning overhaul.
The committee did not take up a request to rezone 551 Shore Road from the BA zone into the residential district after landowner Jane Waning asked that her request go through the formal process beginning at the Planning Board, rather than piggy-back the current BA zoning discussion.
Town officials estimate that because of a backlog of Planning Board work, that zoning request will not be heard for up to two years. The Town Council could bypass that process and vote on rezoning the property along with the overhaul changes in April.
If approved by the Town Council, 553 Shore Road will fall under what Town Planner Maureen O'Meara called "the most complicated ordinance" in Cape Elizabeth.
Many of the complicated additions to the ordinance came about because of the proposed inclusion of 553 Shore Road into the district. In order to appease neighbor's fears that intensive business use would soon be a part of their tight-knit neighborhood, the committee included several levels of approved uses depending on lot size and proximity to residential property.
Special rules have been placed on some uses on lots within 100 feet of a residential property and on lots smaller than 10,000 square feet. Only three properties in the BA zone are smaller than 10,000 square feet: Kettle Cove Dairy on Route 77, the town fire station on Shore Road and 553 Shore Road. No building in the Shore Road zone could be farther than 100 feet from a residential property.
Some committee members said that the lot size restriction rules evoke spot-zoning – a method of rezoning one property at a time, which is not legal in town – but agreed that it was the most convenient way to restrict something like a loud, late-night restaurant from being opened at 553 Shore Road.
Under the zoning changes approved by the committee, restaurants on lots smaller than 10,000 square feet must close by 5 p.m., those within 100 feet of a residential property must close by 9 p.m., with all others closing by 10 p.m. Establishments within 100 feet of a residential property that have a liquor license may not serve alcohol outside and can have no gatherings outside after 6 p.m.
These changes allow business as usual to continue at The Good Table restaurant on Route 77, and prevents Rudy's from serving alcohol outside.
Using restrictions based on liquor licenses also allows Kettle Cove Dairy to continue doing business after 6 p.m., unless it wants to begin serving alcohol.
On lots of less than 10,000 square feet, personal services, veterinary offices, medical clinics, repair garages, institutional uses and boat-repair facilities must be closed by 7 p.m.
The only personal services allowed on lots smaller than 10,000 square feet are barber or beauty salons; tailor shops; shoe repair or dressmaking shops; dance, art, music, or photography studios, and village retailers selling car parts, building supplies, farm and fish products, groceries, hardware, lawn and garden supplies, liquor, offices supplies or pharmaceuticals.
In all parts of the BA zone, which exists on Shore Road from the South Portland border until near the intersection with Charles Road and on Route 77 from Rudy's to Kettle Cove Dairy, parking is not allowed in the front-yard setback, restaurants are limited to no more than 80 seats, and any new use or activity that requires Planning Board review and has frontage on Shore Road is required to construct or improve a sidewalk along Shore Road.
Lee Wilson, owner of 553 Shore Road said Tuesday that despite restrictions placed on her property – which is both smaller than 10,000 square feet and within 100 feet of residential property – her plans for the building remain unchanged. Wilson has said before that she hopes to open a small retail shop on the first floor, with office space on the second floor and a studio apartment on the third.
The Town Council is expected to schedule the issue for a public hearing April 13.