Council clarifies confusion about development mix on Haigis Parkway

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SCARBOROUGH — For years city officials have envisioned a mix of commercial developments lining Haigis Parkway, a 1.5-mile road that connects Payne Road and Route 1.

In 2012, the town altered that focus a bit in an effort to modernize the zone and began allowing residential use, as long as it was part of a mixed-use project and 60 percent of the development is commercial. Under new language approved by the Town Council on Wednesday, the Planning Board will now have the authority to determine how that 60/40 split is dealt with in multi-phased projects.

During the March 6 meeting, the council also scheduled a second reading for a contract zone request, tweaked language in the garbage and recycling ordinance, and set its goals for the year, among other actions.

Councilors also held an executive session regarding the potential sale of the Pine Point Co-Op at the end of King Street, but took no action on the topic during the meeting.

The new zoning regulations, which passed unanimously, state that “the maximum amount of residential use(s) shall not exceed 40 percent of the non-residential use(s) at full-build out.” This would mean for a development that occurs in a single building lot or building, the “floor area of all residential uses shall be a maximum of 40 percent of the total non-residential uses floor area at the time of approval.”

For a planned development project that takes place over multiple lots or buildings, the maximum amount of residential use is based on the amount of non-residential use that is possible in a specific lot or building. To determine this, the ordinance requires an applicant to create a “conceptual build-out analysis for each lot and/or building.” The Planning Board would have the authority to make modifications to that analysis, if necessary.

The issue, as Town Planner Jay Chace wrote to councilors in a January correspondence, is that sometimes residential use builds out faster than commercial uses in a phased development, and the Planning Board felt the ordinance language didn’t provide clear guidance about how to determine the build-out ratio for phased development.

The long-range planning committee was asked to look into the issue and provide some guidance to the Planning Board and council.

“The intention is to clarify the confusion among staff and applicants about the mix between residential and commercial development in the Haigis Park District,” Town Manager Tom Hall said at the March 6 council meeting. “This will go a long way in clarifying that.”

The new language, Chace said at a public hearing on the topic Feb. 20, provides “a better approach than we’ve had in the past.”

The council passed the ordinance change without any discussion Wednesday,  but at first reading on Jan. 16, Councilor Jean Marie Caterina, a liaison to the long range planning committee, said the ordinance change will fix an unintended gap in the ordinance.

“I think this is a great solution to a potential issue,” she said at that meeting. “It’s one of those things where we do our best with ordinances to make sure we cover the bases, but when you get to applicability, all of a sudden you say ‘oh no, I guess there is a hole there.’ That’s what this attempts to plug.”

Aside from the ordinance change for the Haigis Parkway zone, the council set the date for a second reading for Patriot Acura, located at 285 Payne Road, for March 20.

Language changes in the Scarborough Garbage and Recycling Collection and Disposal Ordinance were made that better define “yard waste.” The changes also gave people a deadline of removing their garbage and recycling totes from the street within 24 hours after collection.

The group also approved a massage license for Focal Point Manual Therapy at 25 Plaza Drive and held a first reading on changes to the town’s purchasing policy.

Michael Kelley can be reached at 780-9106 or mkelley@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: mkelleynews.

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