n-cumbplanningboard-012209 Board sends Doane property zoning to council

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CUMBERLAND — Proposed rezoning of the Doane property went through the Planning Board unscathed Tuesday, leaving the final decision on a new dense, mixed-use zone up to the Town Council.
Use of the Doane property has been under committee review for more than a year, after the Town Council appointed the Doane Property Advisory Committee in November 2007 to research and recommend a more suitable use for the unused, town-owned land.
The Doane property is behind the Drowne Road School, and also has access off Wyman Way, abutting the Town Forest on its eastern edge.
The committee brought its report to the Planning Board Tuesday, which included wording for a new zone – a Village Mixed Use Zone (V-MUZ) – that would allow very dense mixed-use development, including duplex and multiplex housing, small markets, small retail, restaurants without drive-throughs, small business offices, personal services, and small day-care centers. Lots would be capped at 5,000 square feet, with businesses capped between 2,000 and 5,000 square feet depending on the use.
The committee does not, however, hope to see the area become a new town center.
“Main Street and the Town Center are the center of gravity” of Cumberland, said committee and Planning Board member Pam Russell, and general agreement was that the town’s focal point shouldn’t change.
The density of the zone – which, if approved for the Doane property, would contrast with the Rural Residential-1 zone surrounding it – is designed to allow for development that will offset the town’s mostly residential tax base while also protecting the myriad wetlands on the property.
Once rezoned, the land would go on the market to be developed. The town will not develop the land; it would create zoning specific to the area to guide the growth it hopes to see.
Non-residential uses proposed for the area would have to go through a town review process, allowing residents some say in the business uses that could abut them.
The Doane property recommendations and zoning proposal must still go before the Town Council for a public hearing, which has not been scheduled.

Sarah Trent can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 108 or strent@theforecaster.net.