Doane property contract zone gets nod from Cumberland Town Council

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CUMBERLAND — A contract zone agreement for the first phase of the Village Green Revitalization Master Plan received unanimous Town Council approval Monday.

The agreement is between the town and Village Green Cumberland, a corporation created by project developer Bateman Partners.

The 40.7-acre Doane property comprises the first of three phases of the revitalization project and is planned to be a 59-lot residential subdivision. It is in the Village Mixed-Use Zone.

Bateman wanted minor changes to what the zone allows and sought a contract zone, rather than a more cumbersome complete rezoning, company Vice President Nathan Bateman said in February.

Changes include one sidewalk instead of two along the road running through the subdivision, and reduced street frontage for some buildings.

The Planning Board recommended the contract zone March 15. Monday’s public hearing ran about 10 minutes and included little comment.

Town Manager Bill Shane said in February that benefits to Cumberland from the contract zone agreement include potentially $15 million in new property tax revenue and enhancement of existing trails and a pond on the property.

Bateman said in February that he hoped to have local and Maine Department of Environmental Protection permits by July and to begin construction of the first phase at that time. He expected the first homeowners to be able to move in five months later.

The first phase will include a mix of single-family and duplex homes.

Proposed later phases of the project include relocation of the Public Works and school bus facilities, which are now northeast of the Doane Property. Six single-family and 12 duplex homes would be built in their place, along with a nearly 43,000-square-foot mixed-use building that would house 20 residential rental units and 14,300 square feet of office or retail space.

The 17,600-square-foot Drowne Road School is also proposed to become a senior housing/community center, and a four-acre town-owned parcel to the north of the Doane Property is being considered for recreational uses.

Gravel pit petition

The Town Council on Monday also accepted enough validated petitions to send changes in gravel pit rules to a June 14 referendum.

Town Clerk Tammy O’Donnell certified 600 signatures submitted March 31 by a citizen’s group, the Cumberland Environmental Action Network. She stopped counting at 600, since the required 591 had been reached.

The petition calls for a gravel extraction ban in Cumberland’s two Rural Residential zones. Gravel extraction is currently allowed in those zones and in the town’s Industrial zone.

A public hearing on the matter will be held Monday, April 25, after which the council will vote to set the referendum.

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.