Homes, commercial development proposed for Cumberland Center

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CUMBERLAND — A plan is in the works to build nearly 70 new homes and a mixed-use commercial building in the center of town.

A neighborhood meeting will be held Thursday, Nov. 4, to discuss the proposed master development plan for the Doane property and the Public Works Department and school bus facilities.

The approximately 40-acre parcel, off Drowne Road and bordered by Wyman Way and Main Street, would have 49 homes – 25 single-family homes and 24 duplexes.

The property is the largest undeveloped piece of undeveloped land in Cumberland Center.

This would be the first phase of the project, developed by Portland-based Bateman Partners. Construction would begin in 2011 and continue through 2015.

If the first phase is approved by the Planning Board and Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Bateman would purchase the property from the town for its 2008 assessed value, $425,000, and oversee construction and manage the completed development.

The second phase calls for the relocation of the Public Works and school bus facilities, now northeast of the Doane property. Six single-family and 12 duplex buildings would be built there, along with a 42,900-square-foot mixed-use commercial building that would include 20 residential rental units and 14,300 square feet of retail or office space.

The re-utilization of the now-closed Drowne Road School building is also part of the plan. Bateman proposes a recreation/retail/office use for the 17,600-square-foot building. A vacant, four-acre town-owned parcel to the north of the Doane property would also be used for recreation.

Work on the various elements of the second phase would run from 2012-2016, according to Bateman.

“This is a public-private partnership with the Bateman group,” Town Manager Bill Shane said on Monday. He noted that the first phase is allowed under current zoning around the Doane property, but that the second phase would require either changes in zoning or a contract zone agreement.

The Town Council voted in July to sign a memorandum of understanding with Bateman Partners to give the company 120 days to create a plan for the property that will ultimately go before the council for approval. Bateman was also asked for a feasibility study and a business plan.

“This is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan,” Shane said. “The Comprehensive Plan is looking for these type of uses: mixed uses in town, more walkability, more sustainability, trying to develop some businesses here. All good things. But is this the right place? I believe it is. … I’m hoping that through the public process, residents will have some acceptance of this as well.”

The neighborhood meeting will take place at Town Hall at 7 p.m. The Town Council will further discuss the matter at its regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 8.

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.