Cumberland’s Main Street is one of the few remaining residential Main Streets in the greater Portland area. Shoehorning a two bay, drive-through bank on an undersized lot in the middle of this residential zone is a significant change in character from which there is no return.
Think Gorham Center, with a proposed bypass now sorely needed due to development that started with “just one bank,” or Freeport, with Abercrombie & Fitch in its former library.
The Town Council has recently been using contract or “spot” zoning to change Main Street parcel by parcel. Incredibly, members have openly stated that there are a number of people’s homes they would like to see turned into commercial parcels. This is bad planning, bad public policy and bad for Cumberland.
The council’s justification for contract zoning is that it provides more control and allows them to dictate even the “type of faucets” in a contract zone. Nevertheless, the council did not exercise any control whatsoever. Rather, in the face of overwhelming public opposition, the council swallowed whole a two bay drive-through in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
This is an abuse of contract zoning. Even Yarmouth has the guts to deny McDonald’s a drive-through on Route 1.
I am all for a bank in town or other commercial development in those portions of town zoned for commercial use or mixed-use development. It should not be jammed into a residential neighborhood. Please vote no on June 9, to overturn the contract zone.