Cumberland Route 1 housing development seeks expansion

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CUMBERLAND — The developer of a housing project on U.S. Route 1 wants to add 40 homes, but the contract zone will have to be amended for him to do it.

Developer David Chase hopes to complete by next year the complex of 45 single-family homes as part of his Foreside Village project. Also underway just to the north is Chase’s 96-unit apartment project, housed in eight buildings, that could be ready for occupancy next year.

To the south of those two projects, Chase hopes to build an additional 40 homes, on a site originally intended for commercial development, Town Manager Bill Shane said in an interview Dec. 1.

But in order to do so, the contract zone on the property must be amended – a proposal to be discussed at a neighborhood workshop at Town Hall, 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12.

With 141 housing units – including the apartments – already approved by the town for construction, another 40 homes would bring the total to 181. Since the contract zone imposes a 150-unit cap, Chase seeks to have the agreement amended to permit up to 185.

While the existing homes are accessed off Casco Bay Drive, the additional 40 could be reached from U.S. Route 1 via Skyview Drive. True Spring Road, which leads into the condominiums at True Spring Farm, sits across U.S. Route 1 from Casco Bay Drive.

While he does not object to additional homes being built on Chase’s development, Tom Foley of True Spring Farm said Dec. 2 that it is important that they be accessible via Skyview Drive.

Otherwise, he noted, “(T)his will funnel close to 170 cars onto and off Route 1 during peak commuter hours, all traveling on Casco Bay Drive. This will create a substantial traffic safety risk. Skyview Drive was approved to service development of this property, and should be used to efficiently manage all traffic generated by the development.”

Chase additionally requests 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 decreases the front setback from U.S. Route 1 from 50 to 25 feet.

“The (existing) building setbacks would push this building all the way to the back of the lot, and it would be difficult to build,” Shane said. “… They would be able to meet the building setbacks of the OC South.”

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. The requirement reflects a time when the housing was going to be commercial structures, but since the homes now have sidewalks running through their neighborhoods, Chase asks that the trail be eliminated from the plan, Shane said.

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

Cumberland will hold a neighborhood meeting Monday, Dec. 12, on proposed amendments to a contract zone governing the Foreside Road development on U.S. Route 1. Among changes developer David Chase seeks is the addition of 40 homes, seen in green at left, as well as removal from the contract zone of Lot 9, right.

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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.