Scarborough council backs Gorham turnpike spur

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SCARBOROUGH — Town councilors voted unanimously Wednesday to follow through with a transportation and land-use action plan in support of a proposed east-west highway to Gorham. 

The tolled, limited-access highway connector from the Maine Turnpike to Gorham has been been proposed, to help reduce traffic on Route 114, Route 22 and Running Hill Road.

Vice Chairwoman Katherine St. Clair said the the turnpike spur is desperately needed. Chairman Shawn Babine called it a “state solution for a regional problem that cannot be paid for locally.”

Councilors also amended a parking ordinance on Pine Point Road, discussed a large residential project in executive session, accepted a grant to study softshell clamming, and certified results of a special School Board election. 

The amended a traffic ordinance limits parking on Pine Point Road from East Grand Avenue to Snow Canning Road, with the exception of new, delineated on-street parking spots on the southwestern side of the road.

The amendment will also narrow traffic lanes, typically 12 feet wide, to 11 feet; create bike lanes on both sides of the road; rebuild the sidewalk; provide designated parking spots, and add trees. 

Councilors said the amendment would make the road safer.

Councilors also met in executive session to discuss The Residences at Gateway Commons, a previously proposed residential development on Haigis Parkway.

Devine Capital has proposed what the company calls 288 “highly amenitized luxury” apartments on approximately 33 acres of undeveloped land.

The council is expected to have a public hearing about the proposed development on March 15.

The council on Wednesday also accepted a $4,500 grant from Manomet,a Massachusetts-based climate action and conservation nonprofit, to study the use of protective mesh for preservation of soft-shell clams. The mesh would be used to combat the the invasive green crabs that are eating the soft-shell clams.

Shellfish Conservation Commission Chairman David Green said that it would not only be a research project, but it would also be a conservation project.

“This is an unbelievable project,” Green said. “They will give us $4,500 worth of clam seed.”

He said there would be no expense to the town.

The council also certified the election results of the Feb. 28 special municipal election, making Mary B. Starr the newest School Board member. Starr was the only candidate to seek the seat; she replaces Kathryn Miles.

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or msochan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter@melaniesochan.

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