Scarborough developer urged to respect hospice concerns

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SCARBOROUGH — The Planning Board on Monday moved plans forward for a 24-lot housing subdivision off of Elmwood Avenue, despite concerns from an abutting hospice.

While not entirely opposed to the development, Hospice of Southern Maine Chief Executive Elaine Brady expressed concern that the subdivision abuts the hospice garden, a tranquil space for the facility’s residents, who often only stay at the house for a few days.

“This is an area that when patients, in their sometimes final hours, we actually take out in their bed to enjoy the flowers and serenity,” Brady told Planning Board members.

The Gosnell Memorial Hospice House on Hunnewell Road, an 18-bed HSM special acute-care facility, abuts two lots of the proposed subdivision.

Phase one of the Leighton Farm subdivision plan has come before the Planning Board several times in the past year. No members of the public came forward to speak on the item at a public hearing on June 23. 

Along with five members of the HSM board, Brady asked senior project manager Shawn Frank of Sebago Technics to give the facility as much buffer space as possible to minimize noise during construction. 

In an informal meeting with project managers, HSM directors also requested that the abutting lots be sold last, if possible, and that construction machinery never be stored nearby. 

While Planning Board members were sympathetic to Brady’s concerns, they agreed the hospice has little control over the buffer zone, and encouraged the two sides to maintain communications.

“It will be virtually impossible for there to be no noise, and given sensitivity of the abutter, we fully appreciate that,” Planning Board Chairman Allen Paul said. 

The board is expected to take further action after the project receives Department of Environmental Protections permits.

Shelby Carignan can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @shelbycarignan.