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Town Council gets preliminary plan for Pine Point beach access

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Town Council gets preliminary plan for Pine Point beach access

SCARBOROUGH — The town manager Wednesday introduced a working design for a controversial public area at Pine Point.

The sketch by Terrance DeWann & Associates is the result of work by Town Manager Tom Hall's task force, a group made up of two Pine Point Residents Association members, a resident of Beach Walk subdivision, and several town staff.

The panel was appointed by the manager to come up with a plan for two small parcels of adjoining land – a strip the town will receive from Lighthouse Motel owners when a land swap is completed and a piece donated to the town by the Beach Walk developer.

During the next couple of months, the town will hold three open houses, including two at the Pine Point Fire Barn, to allow the public to view details of the plan and make suggestions, Hall said.

After the open houses, a final plan will be presented to the council at the end of January or in early February, with a eye to seeking bids by early March. Money has already been allocated for related roadwork and Hall said he hopes to identify funding to complete at least some of the components by next summer.

"This (plan) is truly a starting point as opposed to a finish line," he emphasized to the Town Council.

The working plan shows a boardwalk-patterned, stamped concrete walkway that meanders toward the water. A circular pavilion with an arbor and curved bench seating is just off the path, and a bike rack, cedar picket fencing, benches, a foot-washing area and mixed planting beds are some of the components that line the walkway. A two-car drop-off spot is off the bend in the roadway.

The drop-off holds some concern for Town Engineer Jim Wendel, who said Thursday morning that it could cause traffic problems.

"If it gets highly used, such that you get a high frequency of cars backed up that are trying to use the space, then you're going to be pushing traffic back into the travel lane and the potential is there to block the Beach Walk Drive," he said. "I couldn't say it will be unsafe, but it has the potential to become a traffic jam."

Wendel said he expressed his opinion to the task force, but it was decided that the emphasis should be on pedestrian and bicycle access, as opposed to vehicle traffic.

"We feel this location is a secondary access point to the beach from Hurd Park," he said. "We're not going to advertise this space. It's just going to be there for the local people to know – frequent users of the beach as opposed to putting up signage to draw people to it."

Last summer, the Pine Point Residents Association fought the land swap and the organization is now considering a petition for a referendum that, if passed, would clear the way to recall councilors who voted in favor of the swap. Some of the association members have asked the new council to overturn last summer's decision.

And many residents in the association have not been happy with the work or the composition of the task force. Two weeks ago, Judy Shirk, of Avenue Three, said she thought the town manager should have included residents who live closer to the property.

"There were parties more impacted that would have liked to have been on the task force that were not allowed to be," she said.

At noon on Monday, Dec. 7, the Planning Board will hold a site walk of the property the motel received from the town, which is slated for a new parking lot. Motel owners will go before the board again on Monday, Dec. 14, seeking site plan approval for the parking lot reconfiguration.

From comments at the board's last meeting, integration of the parking lot plan and task force plan will be key to an approval.

Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or proberts@theforecaster.net.

Concept plan

Concept plan
Photo: Keith
Scarborough Town Manager Tom Hall introduced this "Pine Point Beach Access Preliminary Concept Plan for Public Discussion" during Wednesday night's council meeting. The design includes pedestrian-friendly and aesthetic elements for the small common area at the beach, which incorporates a small parcel donated by the developer of the Beach Walk subdivision and a strip the town will receive in last summer's controversial "land swap" with owners of the Lighthouse Motel.

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