I am writing about the Scarborough Planning Board’s decision to approve the Lighthouse Motel’s site plan for their expanded parking lot on Depot Street. What is remarkable about this decision is that the board could have easily tabled approval until all questions were answered and they could review the town plan. Several members stated how they would have preferred to wait. But like the Town Council last summer, they rushed to judgment without all the facts.
For example, this project may require DEP approval. Furthermore, this is a commercial operation in a residential zone. When the Town Council gave the motel owners an additional one-eighth acre of public land for their parking lot they expanded the commercial operation by doubling the parking lot. The Planning Board, therefore, illegally approved an expansion of a non-conforming use, which they do not have the authority to do.
By allowing the expanded parking lot and permitting stalls down Depot Street they allow the motel to obliterate public views, something our Comprehensive Plan and DEP regulations prohibit. The board could have reduced the number of parking spaces by a few and required parking in front of the building, not down the middle of the street.