Cumberland council approves Route 1 retail restriction

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CUMBERLAND — The Town Council voted 6-1 Monday to ban businesses that primarily engage in retail trade from a 1.25-mile stretch of Route 1.

The decision, opposed by Councilor Shirley Storey-King, followed a recommendation from the Planning Board.

Businesses with associated, or secondary, retail uses will continue to be allowed in the Office Commercial South Zone, which extends between the Tuttle Road intersection and the Falmouth town line.

The restriction affects only eight lots.

Ordinance changes last summer inadvertently added retail as a permitted use in the zone. In June, the council enacted a 90-day moratorium on retail businesses in the zone so it could establish rules for allowable retail uses.

Town Manager Bill Shane said Tuesday that the moratorium will expire on its own.

Shane noted in June that potential commercial space is limited on Cumberland’s stretch of Route 1, and that the town seeks office commercial types of businesses there. He pointed out that Seafax has a taxable value of $3.13 million, while a fast-food restaurant in a neighboring town has a $436,000 value.

He said retail uses could be reconsidered in the future. If the town succeeds in attracting office commercial businesses, Shane said, there will be pressure to add compatible retail services, such as restaurants, coffee shops or office supply stores.

Associated retail is a type of use subordinate to a business’s primary use, like a doctor’s office having a pharmacy, Shane has said. That retail component would be small and would serve solely to help with the primary business.

The OCS zone also permits uses such as research and residential-care facilities, light manufacturing, and business and professional offices.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.