Scarborough may relax rules for industrial growth

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New zones created to protect town’s aquifers

SCARBOROUGH — The Scarborough Economic Development Corp. has proposed a change to the town’s zoning rules that would allow businesses in industrial zones to build on up to 50 percent of their property.

The maximum existing building coverage is 35 percent.

“We got a request for help from a company in the Industrial Zone that wants to expand and can’t under the current rules,” SEDCO Executive Director Harvey Rosenfeld told the Town Council Wednesday. “The 35 percent seemed arbitrary to me and to the Planning Department.”

The company, which has asked SEDCO for anonymity, Rosenfeld said, would like to build a 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on its property.

New construction would still have to meet all the other requirements of the zone, including off-street parking and performance standards.

“This would help this company expand, which we want to encourage, but also eliminate this problem for future businesses,” Rosenfeld said.

The council unanimously approved the first reading of the zoning change, which will now go to the Planning Board for review and a public hearing.

In other business, the council also unanimously approved a new Aquifer Protection Zone for all the mapped aquifers in the town.

The new rules, created to protect the town’s vulnerable gravel and sand aquifers, require homeowners and businesses in the zone to have double-lined fuel tanks, refuel and park vehicles on impervious surfaces, and other water-protection measure.

“We’ll be further ahead than other communities in having protections for this,” said Paul Porada, a project engineer and town resident who initially pushed for the new zone to protect the town’s drinking water. “Everything we do with development comes with a price.”

The town has several aquifers, but the largest aquifer is in west of the turnpike and across the border with Gorham.

“These are the small steps you do now to save your tomorrow,” Councilor Jessica Holbrook said.

The council also added Higgins and Ferry beaches and Hurd Park to its resident beach access pass, so residents can access any of the town’s beaches, including Pine Point Beach, all season with purchase of the $30 sticker.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.

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