Disposition of Goddard Mansion among public hearing topics in Cape Elizabeth

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The Town Council will hold three public hearings at its meeting on Monday, Sept. 14.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m., councilors will hear public input on the amended shoreland zoning ordinance, the conceptual Shore Road pathway and the Goddard Mansion ruins.

In February 2008, the Fort Williams Advisory Committee voted unanimously against repairing and maintaining the ruins. Members decided it would be too costly to repair the structure, at an estimated cost of $631,000.

In its report, the committee said it “feels it is time to move forward on the disposition of the mansion, having invested almost $24,000 in consulting fees to study the ruin over the past nine years.”

Instead, the committee suggested spending an estimated $100,000 to develop a long-term plan that would not encourage the demolition of the  mansion, but would not repair it either. It suggested reducing the height of the walls and capping them in order to minimize further deterioration and maintenance.

The committee also suggested preserving the front entrance by using a bracing system, and installing informational panels to showcase the history of the mansion. The interior of the ruins would be open for public access, and would be seeded and leveled for public use.

In the meantime, the committee suggested the installation of protective fencing for the more dangerous areas surrounding the ruins.

In addition to the Goddard Mansion debate, the public will have another opportunity to discuss the proposed Shore Road Pathway concept plan.

The Shore Road Pathway Committee was appointed by the council in 2007 to research and create an off-road pedestrian and bicycle path along Shore Road. The concept plan was presented to the council this spring, and is unanimously supported by the members of the committee as a safe and useful pathway.

The estimated cost of the Shore Road path is $883,000.

Also, councilors will hear public comment relative to state required shoreland zoning changes. The Planning Board prepared amendments to the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance that would bring the town into compliance with new state minimum standards.

All council supporting information including reports, maps, and concept plans can be found on the Cape Elizabeth Web site

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net