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Scarborough Planning Board to consider Pine Point motel's design for parking lot on swapped land

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Scarborough Planning Board to consider Pine Point motel's design for parking lot on swapped land

SCARBOROUGH — The Planning Board on Monday will take up a Pine Point motel's request for site plan approval for a reconfigured parking lot at the center of a controversial land swap with the town.

After several months of debate, the Town Council in July approved the land exchange, trading more than 18,000 square feet of town-owned property, including the end of Depot Street and an access path to the water, for the 13,000-square-foot Lighthouse Motel parking strip and ocean access owned by Nick and Peter Truman.

Though the town gave up more land than it received, Town Manager Tom Hall and the four councilors who voted in favor of the exchange said they believed it would accomplish two goals:

It would combine the town's apportionment from the swap with a small, inaccessible piece of town-owned land next to the Beach Walk subdivision, which would provide enough room to create a turn-around and drop-off point for visitors to the beach. And it would move the motel's parking from the other side of Depot Street to a strip adjacent to the building, reducing the danger to guests and to beach-goers, who walk between the motel and its lot to access the ocean.

Opponents of the deal charged the swap benefited the Trumans far more than the town and claimed access to the ocean would be compromised and the view would be lost. But motel owners had to compromise in the deal, too, because the capacity of the new parking lot will be reduced by five spaces. Supporters of the swap insisted the ocean view and access would be shifted, but not lost with the new configuration.

Although it's been several months since the exchange was approved, according to Hall, "details of the land swap have not been finalized" because the Trumans are waiting until after the Planning Board process.

Hall has already met twice with a group of representatives from the Pine Point area to come up with a design for the drop-off and turn-around space. They have engaged landscape architects Terrance DeWann & Associates to help the group develop design ideas. Though their next meeting has not yet been scheduled, Hall said he expected it to be in the next two weeks.

The panel has kept the Trumans aware of its progress, Nick Truman said Wednesday, adding that he and his brother are coordinating their design with the town. He listed entrance columns as one feature that might be a component in their final plan.

"They've looked at what we have in mind so there's continuity," he said. "We're kind of limited as to what can be done."

The Trumans have hired Lester Berry, a consulting engineer from Gorham, to design the new parking lot, Truman said. They plan to continue working on the design along with the town and most likely will schedule construction work for early spring to coincide with the town.

"We're trying to make it very attractive – something that will complement the neighborhood," Truman said.

The Planning Board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 2, at Town Hall.

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