Cumberland planners to hold workshop on Main St. zoning change

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CUMBERLAND — The Planning Board will hold a workshop sometime next month with the Town Center Advisory Committee to discuss a proposed zoning change for part of Main Street.

After hearing the proposal at its Aug. 17 meeting, the Planning Board opted to table the matter and hold off sending a recommendation to the Town Council, which will ultimately decide on the zoning change.

Zoning on the affected portion of Main Street would change from Medium Density Residential, which does not permit commercial or retail uses, to the Town Center District.

This new district would allow homes, personal services like hair salons, business and professional offices, retail stores of no more than 2,000 square feet, small markets, cafes, health and fitness studios and residential-care facilities.

Those non-residential uses currently along that strip are grandfathered, except for the Atlantic Regional Federal Credit Union, which was permitted through a contract zone last year by the Town Council.

Town Planning Carla Nixon has said that the committee tried not to adversely impact the people who live in the area. But the comprehensive planning process showed that many residents desire a town center on Main Street, she noted.

Nixon said on Tuesday that some Main Street residents expressed their concerns last week about the sweeping nature of the changes proposed, and the potential of unanticipated development should those amendments be adopted.

“The Planning Board discussed it, talked about it, and ultimately just felt, to be fair to both the residents and the work that was done by the (Town Center Advisory) committee, that they should really have more of an in-depth discussion about it,” Nixon said.

She anticipated that the Planning Board would discuss the matter in a regular meeting again in October.

The Planning Board on Aug. 17 also heard a pre-application presentation from Central Maine Power Co. about the company’s desire to build a transmission substation at 37 Greely Road. The board scheduled a site walk for 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30.

CMP plans to return to the board later to request the installation of transmission lines that would run from Pownal to the substation. Both elements of the company’s proposal must ultimately undergo major site plan review.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

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.