Scarborough council OKs additional land for Eastern Village

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SCARBOROUGH — Developer Kerry Anderson will get more space for his village-style subdivision at Oak Hill, but he assured neighbors he would not use a quiet nearby road for access.

By a 4-1 vote, the Town Council on Wednesday approved designating two acres of land at 38 Westwood Ave. as a Traditional Neighborhood District overlay, allowing Anderson a future development opportunity as part of his Eastern Village subdivision.

Councilor James Benedict opposed the designation, while Councilors Bill Donovan and Kate St. Clair did not attend the meeting.

The designation does not require a Planning Board opinion or second council vote, but requires any site plan submitted for Planning Board review to have streets with curbs, a 5-foot-wide sidewalk, and 6-foot esplanades between streets and sidewalks, among other features.

The TND designation allows developers to use smaller lots while incorporating affordable housing and open space in site plans. Anderson still needs Planning Board approval for any expansion of the subdivision.

Anderson first received approval for the subdivision in 2005.

Westwood Avenue residents Stephanie Ruel, Jon Cahill and Lorraine Libby told councilors they worried about increased traffic caused by future development. They said their street has already become a favored shortcut for drivers trying to avoid the intersection at U.S. Route 1 and Black Point Road.

“I do not believe we should be asked to bear the burden of any additional traffic,” Ruel said.

Cahill noted Anderson’s promise to use the existing access roads to the development, but said a change “will pretty much destroy the neighborhood” he has lived in for more than 40 years.

Anderson said when the acreage is developed, it will be linked to Ward Street, running parallel to Westwood Avenue two blocks away, where there is already a traffic signal at U.S. Route 1.

Eastern Village also has Eastern Road and Commerce Drive as access routes, and the end of Ward Street is already used by construction vehicles, Anderson said.

He would not promise to physically block access to Westwood Avenue, and said he would like subdivision residents to use it when walking or riding bicycles.

“If you are asking me if I would put in a Jersey barrier, no, they are pretty ugly,” Anderson said.

Town Planner Dan Bacon said the TND designation may help the neighbors’ cause, because of the design flexibility it offers Anderson, who could develop the land under less restrictive R4 zoning rules.

Because the TND offers a chance for additional lots, one could be placed to block access to Westwood Avenue by vehicles.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.