SCARBOROUGH — The town plans to re-brand Haigis Parkway, and may rename it, in an effort to attract a more diverse business and housing population.
In a workshop Wednesday night, the Town Council, along with Karen Martin, president and executive director of the Scarborough Economic Development Corp., discussed new ways to increase and encourage development in what Town Manager Tom Hall called the somewhat “stigmatized” area of town.
Rather than wait for development to be proposed, officials believe the town should institute new incentive programs and zoning amendments.
“We don’t want to be waiting; we really think there’s a new story to tell about Haigis,” Martin told councilors at the Aug. 17 workshop.
The parkway, intended to be one of the gateways to Scarborough, stretches for nearly 2 miles between Route 1 and Maine Turnpike Exit 42. In 2012, zoning amendment changes were implemented to make the area more hospitable to businesses.
Due in part to those changes, which expanded use and performance standards for the area, the town’s first climbing gym, the Salt Pump Climbing Co., opened last July.
Since then, incremental zoning changes have taken place. In 2015, for example, the council approved zoning changes that would allow more food and small-batch processing companies, which could include businesses like craft brewers, bakeries, coffee roasters and furniture makers.
Still, development has been minimal.
Now, rather than offer incremental changes, the town is poised to overhaul and re-brand the area, to “really start over,” which could include “changing the name,” Hall said.
He said the town plans to propose a campaign with a package of incentives in the fall.
Changes to the multi-family housing zoning are already underway: after the workshop Wednesday night, at the council’s regularly scheduled meeting, councilors unanimously approved density changes along Haigis Parkway.
The overall density requirement for a 12,500-square-foot building remains unchanged, but the amendments do away with the 12-unit limit and now do not attach a number. The change will allow developers “a little more flexibility” in terms of unit size, Martin said.
Ben Devine, a developer with KGI Properties who helped build the Scarborough Gallery off Gallery Boulevard, which includes a Wal-Mart Supercenter, praised the council and Martin’s vision for the Haigis Parkway area.
Devine said he “applauds the council for giving development potential” to the area, and that added incentives and amendments “are in the best interest” not only of developers, but of the community.