Councilors approve Scarborough zoning changes
SCARBOROUGH — Efforts to preserve Pine Point as a mixed-use community gained Town Council approval Wednesday night with the passage of new zoning requirements and designations.
The council approved updating B-1 zoning ordinances for an area extending along Jones Creek Drive and King Street to the municipal pier.
The decision creates a new zoning designation along Pine Point Road from Holly Street to East Grand Avenue, and create an overlay district in the current industrially zoned portion off Pine Point Road near the railroad tracks.
The new zones and regulations open the area to businesses including seafood processing, and marine sales and storage, while requiring increased shoreline buffer zones along Jones Creek when new construction occurs.
The revisions and changes were created after several neighborhood meetings hosted by Town Planner Dan Bacon and the Long Range Planning Committee. The council forwarded the zoning changes to the Planning Board in July, and the board recommended their adoption last month.
Councilors also approved a change in more inland zoning in a neighborhood off Two Rod Road between Payne and Scottow Hill roads. The change switches a section of Whipple Lane from the rural farming district to residential R2.
Bacon said the committee began looking at a larger change in the area at the request of a landowner. The change allows landowners more development, with two dwellings per acre instead of one dwelling per two acres.
In the final revision approved by councilors, the zone changes shifted slightly with the addition of two properties into the R2 zone while one property will remain in the RF zone at the request of the owner.
Councilors also passed a first reading of new floodplain and shoreline zoning changes, and sent them to the Planning Board for a hearing and review.
The new ordinances would affect about 1,000 properties in 100-year floodplains. The areas, near Scarborough Marsh, Pine Point and Higgins Beach are determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The ordinance revisions require elevating new construction or extensive renovation of structures to 3 feet above flood elevations instead of the current 1 foot elevation. A corresponding zoning change will provide a 3-foot variance above the maximum 35-foot height for construction in the floodplains.
Town Manager Tom Hall said the additional cost of elevating structures and interior electrical panels and exterior fuel storage tanks may be offset by reductions in flood insurance premiums. But questions remain about just how much property owners will save in flood insurance premiums based on regional instead of national data.
Similar zoning was approved by the Saco City Council in June. Saco, Biddeford and Old Orchard Beach combined with Scarborough to form the Sea Level Adaptation Working Group to find methods of coping with rising sea levels over the next century.
Hall said town officials will work to keep affected property owners informed about the potential ordinance changes.
In other business, six members of the recently formed Ad Hoc Transportation Committee were approved. Councilor Jessica Sullivan will serve as liaison to the committee of comprised of Planning Board member Ronald Mazer, Long Range Planning Committee member Susan Auglis, Councilor Carol Rancourt, local businessman Steven Berg and local residents Kathryn Fellows and Roger Chabot.
The committee was formed in April with the intent to study town traffic congestion and development pressure with an immediate focus on the Oak Hill area around routes 1 and 114.