Scarborough brewery, apartments win plaudits from planners

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SCARBOROUGH — The Planning Board on April 4 gave final approval to build Nonesuch River Brewing on the site of an uninhabited single-family home near the intersection of Mussey and Gorham roads.

Also Monday, the board heard a presentation from developer Kerry Anderson, who discussed his plans for a new, eight-building apartment complex in Eastern Village Development.

The brewpub at 201 Gorham Road is the brainchild of Tim Boardman, Michael Schuler and Jeff Gambardella, who plan to build a 5,000-square-foot structure, designed to look like a traditional New England barn, that will include a brewery and a 142-seat restaurant.

Their plan first went to the Planning Board last December. A site plan for the project received mixed reaction from the board in early February.

But board members Monday called the project a great addition to one of the gateways into Scarborough, and said they are pleased the three owners are taking advantage of a relatively new zoning change that calls for mixed uses in that area of town.

Prior to the vote, several residents spoke up in favor of the brewery, including Chuck Bradish, who said he lives “just down the street” and can’t wait for the pub to open.

He and his wife often find themselves eating out, Bradish said, and they usually end up dining in other towns. The proposed brew pub, with its “relaxing, family-friendly environment,” would be exactly the type of place he would choose to frequent.

Tom Simonds, another neighbor of the project, agreed.

“My family and I are very excited about this,” particularly because the brew pub will be locally owned. He called the brewery “a very good fit” for that end of town.

Steve Casio, another resident, called the brewery “a great concept done the right way,” and said there is a groundswell of local support for the project.

William Cook said the brewery would provide “a great visual entrance to town and up the quality of the neighborhood.”

Cook also said that with the craft brewing industry “exploding right now,” a new brewery is one way to put Scarborough on the map and make it a destination for those who seek out local, handcrafted beer.

When it came time for the Planning Board to comment, member Michael Wood said he liked the architecture, and agreed that the project would be “a great addition to this area of town.”

Board member Susan Auglis said the brewery is bound to be successful if “you make good beer and good food.” But she questioned whether the owners have provided enough parking.

Chairman Cory Fellows also applauded the project and said, “This will be a nice addition and a great gateway on that side of town.”

He also thanked the owners for their willingness to “address the concerns of staff, board members and neighbors.”

In particular, some neighbors were concerned about light and noise and the additional traffic the project might bring.

Lee Allen, the project consultant from Northeast Civil Solutions, told the board Monday that new fencing and 7-foot-tall trees would be used to buffer the brewpub from nearby residences and a left-hand turn lane will be added to Gorham Road to ease the flow of traffic.

Allen said Tuesday the owners hope to begin the project “as soon as possible.” He said the work could take up to eight months to complete.

Apartments

Anderson was in front of the board for a sketch plan review of his proposed apartment complex, to get input from board members before proceeding to the formal site plan stage.

Overall, board members supported Anderson’s proposal, although Wood and second alternate Robyn Saunders had questions about green space and low-impact development methods.

Anderson said he’s held two meetings with area residents and has been working on the apartment complex plan for a little more than a year to get it just right.

The architecture would match that of the other homes in Eastern Village, and Anderson said the project would not be “your typical apartments. They’ll be appealing and not inexpensive to build.”

Anderson said he’s reacting to market demand for small rental units, with many people these days choosing to rent instead of dealing with the headaches of home ownership. He said those represented by this demographic shift want to live in more densely developed areas and be free of home maintenance.

The eight apartment buildings would vary between two and three stories and most would have eight units of 750 square feet or less, Anderson said. He also said the complex would be pet friendly and include a common green space.

He’s also planning to offer on-street parking, power stations for electric vehicles, a common fire pit and a community center-type space with a lounge and free Wi-Fi. Other amenities would include a dog-washing station and a safe place for  packages to be delivered.

But by far the biggest amenity, Anderson said, is the adjacent Eastern Trail, a mostly off-road trail that runs from Kittery to Bug Light in South Portland that is popular with bikers, walkers and bird watchers.

In evaluating the project, board member Nick McGee said, “I like the design elements.”

First alternate Roger Beeley said, “Everything looks fine to me. You’ve done a wonderful job with the neighborhood so far.”

He added, “I think the architecture looks terrific and it will look great from Black Point Road.”

Fellows said he is “definitely on board. It’s great to see this vision coming together.”

Anderson first received approval for the Eastern Village in 2007 and has mostly built single-family homes and duplexes.

At the end of his presentation Monday, Anderson said he plans to be back for site plan approval and to start building “as soon as possible.”

A sketch of what Nonesuch River Brewing will look like at 201 Gorham Road in Scarborough.

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