Cumberland council to mull moorings, new pier for former Payson property

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CUMBERLAND — Recommendations for a mooring area and new pier at the former Payson property go before the Town Council Monday, Dec. 14.

The town purchased a portion of the property – also referred to by the town as the Broad Cove Reserve – from Portland-based developer Bateman Partners for $3 million last December. Bateman had signed an agreement earlier last year to buy the approximately 100 acres from Spears Hill LLC, which represents the family of the late Marion Payson.

Three homes stand on the Payson property, and Bateman – functioning as 179 Foreside Road, LLC, reflecting the land’s address – is building another seven, as allowed by a 1997 conservation easement.

The town’s purchase, geared toward public use and beach access, includes 2,200 feet of shoreline and a 200-foot pier.

Cumberland’s Coastal Waters Commission has recommended that 20 moorings – 10 for private use by the future homeowner’s association, and the other 10 for public use – be placed in their own respective mooring fields. Each mooring would swing around a 75-foot diameter.

Boat traffic between the floats and mooring area would be restricted to a channel, marked by buoys, that would span the 1,500 feet between the floats and mooring area.

“Boats would basically be restricted from shooting across the eelgrass,” Town Manager Bill Shane explained Dec. 3, adding that two dingies would be available for the homeowners and the public. The public dingies would be non-motorized.

Ten is the starting number for the public moorings, and the number will “grow as we go,” he said.

Shane would work with the Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers to create the mooring area.

The council next Monday will also discuss a memorandum of understanding between the town and 179 Foreside Road, LLC, regarding a new pier. The new pier would cost about $300,000, of which each party would pay half and also be responsible for half the annual maintenance.

The Coastal Waters Commission voted unanimously last month to recommend the agreement be passed by the Town Council, Shane said.

While the current pier has steps leading up to it from the shore, its replacement would have a ramp. The new structure would reach out about 170 feet, connecting to an 80-foot ramp leading down to the floats. It would be 6 feet wide, 2 feet more than the existing pier.

“It’s going to be … more of a public facility,” Shane said, noting that the current pier is more for residential use.

The new structure should be able to far better withstand inclement weather, and support more people, he added.

The council’s Dec. 14 discussion is “a responsible way to go forward in planning (the pier),” the manager explained. “The council will have to analyze this like all other budget requests.”

Permitting would run next year, pushing possible construction of the pier to the summer of 2017, Shane said.

Meanwhile, the Payson heirs are suing the town and Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust, challenging the town’s proposed use of the property. The land trust has been the property’s steward since the 1997 establishment of a conservation easement for the parcel.

The heirs maintain that CCLT’s support of the town’s use “is a breach of its obligation as holder of the Conservation Easement,” and that the trust “has failed to enforce the terms” of the easement.

Maine Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills dismissed the heirs’ case in May, and the family appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. The Cumberland Planning Board in July unanimously approved the town’s parking and access plan for Broad Cove, after which the heirs took the matter to the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

When the ZBA in August upheld a determination by Cumberland’s code enforcement officer that the area was being used as a “municipal use” and allowed in its zone, the heirs on Aug. 20 filed an appeal with the Maine Superior Court.

That matter is unlikely to be decided until early next year, and a final decision on the original action is unlikely before next summer, Town Attorney Ken Cole told the council in October.

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

The Cumberland Town Council will hear recommendations Dec. 14 for a mooring area and new pier at the former Payson property, now also known as the Broad Cove Reserve. Moorings for public use are shown in front of the channel to the pier floats, and those designated for a future homeowners association neighboring the town’s portion of the property are to the north.

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.