SCARBOROUGH — The Town Council raced through its business Wednesday, with little discussion about most items and unanimous votes on almost every motion.
Councilors heard Town Planner Dan Bacon outline proposed changes to the town’s commercial design standards. First adopted in 2001 or 2002, the standards govern architecture,
landscaping and other aesthetic requirements for new commercial
Though the Planning Board has found the standards invaluable, Bacon said, members have discovered several inconsistencies that are addressed by the proposed changes.
A Planning Board subcommittee last summer began to formulate the changes and modifications to the standards, which were subsequently endorsed by the entire board. The subcommittee was charged with redefining several areas that include:
• Updating the standards that apply to multi-story office buildings.
• Allowing flat roofs and modern building materials, such as metal, to accommodate developments that have been considered for Haigis Parkway and in other zones in town.
• Eliminating inconsistencies in standards for corner lots that arise from discrepancies between design standards and commercial zoning.
• Improving the definition of drive-through businesses to conform with standards.
• And updating the standards to coincide with existing sign regulations in the zoning ordinance.
The proposed changes governing corners lots give more freedom to developers, specifically allowing limited traffic and parking between structures and streets, and allowing single-story buildings if a facade is at least 20 feet high.
The subcommittee also tightened regulations to be more specific and consistent with zoning.
Although some councilors expressed concern that allowing single-story buildings discourages the town’s vision of mixed-use development in the Oak Hill area, Bacon said without the change some businesses, such as the new Walgreen’s planned for the intersection of Route 1 and Route 114, would not come to the area.
In other business:
• The Appointments Committee filled nearly two dozen board and committee positions, but Councilor Judith Roy said there are still openings on several committees. She asked any resident interested in serving to visit the town’s Web site, scarborough.me.us, or call Town Hall at 730-4020.
• The council considered a proposal to rezone three Millbrook Road lots from residential district R-2 to residential district R4-A. This would allow medical and professional offices in an area that abuts commercial uses. The proposal was referred to the Planning Board and will return to the council for a public hearing.
• Councilors approved goals that include promoting interconnectivity with a network of bicycle lanes, improving access to regional transportation, engaging the public in local government, conducting a traffic management study on Payne Road, performing energy audits in municipal facilities to promote green policies, preparing a “realistic budget,” striving for revenue-neutral programs and services to maximize non-property tax revenues, encouraging green business growth, training board and committees and encouraging them to keep minutes and submit reports.
It was also announced that council meetings can now be watched at any time online at the town’s Web site. Residents may also register at the site to receive a town newsletter by e-mail.