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Scarborough council considers changes to Cabela's plaza, Haigis Parkway intersection

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Scarborough council considers changes to Cabela's plaza, Haigis Parkway intersection

SCARBOROUGH — New businesses, restaurants and a hotel proposed for the Cabela's plaza got one step closer to reality during a Town Council meeting June 16.

The council held a public hearing and general discussion on a fifth amendment to the contract zoning agreement regulating the Cabela's plaza that would allow drive-through restaurants, more signs and open markets.

The hearing came after the Planning Board sent the amendment to the Council with a recommendation for approval last week.

"Cracker Barrel would have come to this location if we'd had these rules in place then," said Gene Beaudoin of N.E. Expedition, the owners of the plaza.

Representatives from N.E. Expedition were the only ones to speak during the public hearing.

"Truly our intent was not to have to come back (to the council) again," Beaudoin said.

Beaudoin presented site plans for the councilors to review that outlined where up to four  restaurants could be built, as well as the locations for additional signs and the proposed open markets. 

A 100-room hotel is also planned for the property. The proposed amendment would allow that hotel to erect a sign that would be visible from the highway.

"The question we should be asking is, is this the right economic development direction for the town?" Councilor Shawn Babine said. "I think it is."

Councilor Karen D'Andrea cautioned that allowing drive-through restaurants could potentially change the character of the plaza.

"When I think of drive-thrus, I think of McDonald's and Burger King," she said. 

Councilor Michael Wood disagreed.

"I'm not actually fearful that allowing Gateway Shops to participate in the maximum of what they're proposing would risk lowering the scale of the location," he said. "It's all about design."

Discussion also centered around concerns that the amendment would allow farmers' markets, outdoor events and tent sales by outside vendors for up to three consecutive days.

Councilor Judy Roy expressed concern that the amendment would allow farmers' markets from out of town to come in and compete with local farmers.

"I don't know if it's the council's business to determine that," said Wood, cautioning against the council making decisions about business competition.

The council will hold a second reading and vote on the amendment at an upcoming meeting.

The council also heard an update about the Haigis Parkway-Route 1 intersection reconstruction from Tom Gorrill of Gorrill-Palmer Consulting Engineers.

"It's quite an intersection, quite an undertaking," Gorrill said.

The engineering plan would expand the intersection, adding a second left-turn lane onto Haigis Parkway from the northbound lane of Route 1,  a separate right-turn lane in the southbound lane of Route 1, several concrete barriers and ornamental landscaped medians, and other widening adjustments.

The plan also includes a retaining wall to prevent erosion and damage to the nearby landscape. 

Gorrill said the Department of Environmental Protection required a permit for the expansion.

"The DEP comes up with mitigation or there is an in-lieu fee," he said.

The fee the town will have to pay for the updates will be $22,470, he said.

The entire project is currently set to be completed within the town's right of way, however Gorrill suggested that easements for sidewalks could be utilized if that is something the town decides to pursue.

Gorrill said he believes the project will go out to bid by the end of July and construction could start after Labor Day. He said it is too early to say whether the project cn be completed in this construction season.

In other business, the councilors unanimously approved a mutual aid agreement with the other towns in Cumberland County. The agreement protects emergency departments from liability when they respond to calls in other towns. Towns outside of the county have individual agreements.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net