Residents seek more say in zoning proposed for Scarborough neighborhood

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SCARBOROUGH — Some residents are not happy with portions of a zoning change proposed for a neighborhood along Black Point Road.

The Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee has proposed rezoning a section of the road near St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, from the more-liberal Business 1 zone to the more limited Town and Village Centers Fringe District, or TVC3 zone.

The change would create a village-type feel to new development by encouraging multi-use buildings, prohibiting large commercial buildings and allowing in-home businesses.

“We were surprised, we found out about this change by accident,” said Black Point resident Paul Austin, whose home is 150 feet from the proposed zone. “We think the communication could have been better.”

The town did send letters and hold a meeting for all home and business owners whose property would be directly affected by the change. But it did not send the same letters to abutters or those who live across the street.

“That’s been the typical process for the committee,” Planning Director Dan Bacon said.

Austin and his wife, Susan Wilder, asked the town to host a neighborhood meeting before the council’s public hearing on the zoning change, so neighbors could find out more and discuss the issue. As a result, the Town Council tabled the first reading of the zoning amendment until after the neighborhood meeting.

That meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 3, at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

Bacon said he has not heard directly from any other abutters or neighbors of the affected area, but that the town would take into consideration any issues raised at the meeting.

Austin and Wilder said they are not opposed to the TVC3 zone, but they would like to see more restrictions added. They are also concerned about the impact of more traffic and lighting on the neighborhood.

“There are certainly advantages to TVC3,” Austin said.

However, he added that other areas in TVC3, such as the Dunstan neighborhood, are very different in character, and that he would like to see some of the allowed uses be restricted.

“A three-story senior housing development there isn’t appropriate,” Austin said. “The scale of the neighborhood just doesn’t support that.”

The TVC3 district prohibits drive-through restaurants and limits most non-residential uses to 5,000 square feet. It allows various residential developments and encouraged multi-use buildings. It also allows health and fitness clubs, something Wilder took specific issue with.

“We had a health club nearby and the neighborhood was awakened at 5 a.m. by amplified music and yelling,” she said.

The proposed TVC3 zone is larger than the current B1 zone, encompassing both homes and businesses in the area.

“If there are major changes in zoning planned for 150 feet from my house, I want to be included in the discussion about these changes,” Wilder said.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net

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