Scarborough adopts historic property list, incentives

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SCARBOROUGH — The Town Council on Wednesday approved the designation of 48 properties as historic, including the Higgins Beach Inn on Ocean Avenue, the Old Maine House on Pine Point Road and the Mulberry Milliken Tavern on Route 1.

The full list of properties can be found in the meeting agenda

The council also conducted a first reading of the proposed municipal and school capital improvement bonds, totaling approximately $6 million.

Coupled with the historic designations are built-in incentives for residents who own those properties: they would be exempted from building and fire codes that might otherwise compromise the historical integrity of structures.

A property owner may also qualify for a residential density credit. For example, if a historic building is part of a proposed subdivision, the number of dwelling units allowable in the subdivision would be increased by the number of units within the historic structure. 

The council’s action was the culmination of a multi-year initiative, spearheaded by an ad hoc Historic Preservation Committee. At Wednesday’s meeting, the council also voted to formally establish a standing Historic Preservation Implementation Committee.

According to a letter addressed to the council from committee members, their purpose will be to revisit the list of historic properties annually, continue researching new historic sites worthy of preservation, and to install proper but modest signage to designate “historic areas and neighborhoods, properties, places, and sites.” 

“Historic preservation, to some extent, will be reactive rather than proactive,” the letter said. “To at least reduce the urgency of reaction, we recommend that the Town maintain a watch list, updated as needed (and at least annually), of properties the preservation of which may become uncertain in the near future.”

With future preservation projects, the new Historic Preservation Implementation Committee will likely partner with the Scarborough Historic Society.  

The first reading of the budget included bonding $6,000 for a new electric vehicle to be used for town code inspections; bonding nearly $29,500 for new thermal imaging cameras for the Scarborough Fire Department, and nearly $277,500 to update school buses.

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or aacquisto@theforecaster.net. Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA

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South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.