Cumberland council delays discussion on scaled-back Route 1 development

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CUMBERLAND — The Town Council on Monday tabled proposed changes to a housing development along U.S. Route 1 until later this month.

Developer David Chase has scaled back some of those changes, in part with regard to the number of homes proposed for Cumberland Foreside Village.

The council had been due Monday to send the Planning Board new amendments to a contract zone agreement for the development.

But the town attorney had not yet received all the necessary documentation, Town Manager Bill Shane said in a Jan. 5 memo to the council. With the Planning Board unable to “adequately advertise” its public hearing on the matter this month, he recommended the council postpone any action until Jan. 23.

Chase hopes this year to complete a complex of 45 single-family homes as part of his Foreside Village project. Also underway just to the north is his 96-unit apartment project, in eight buildings, that could also be ready for occupancy this year.

To the south of those two projects, Chase had hoped to build an additional 40 homes, on a site originally intended for commercial development. But to do that, the contract zone on the property had to be amended to increase a cap on the number of homes.

The housing expansion triggered concerns from several residents at a neighborhood meeting last month about the traffic impact on U.S. Route 1. Since then, Chase has withdrawn his request for additional housing.

As part of the contract zone amendment, Chase also requested that Lot 9, an undeveloped parcel on the property, be removed from the contract zone envelope and revert to its underlying Office Commercial South zoning. Doing so would reduce the front setback along U.S. Route 1 from 50 to 25 feet.

But Chase is now asking that the lot remain in the contract zone, but with setbacks consistent with what the Planning Board had originally approved before the lot became part of the contract zone agreement, and was subject to stricter standards.

A final element of the contract zone amendment would eliminate from the plan a trail that was to be built on a buffer between the development and Interstate 295.

Instead, a 6-foot-wide gravel trail would run along the part of the project governed by the contract zone agreement, and be placed between 25 feet of the property and 25 feet of the U.S. Route 1 right of way.

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.