SCARBOROUGH — An ophthalmology practice is proposing a 40,000-square-foot medical building at the corner of Route 1 and Greenacres Lane in a residential neighborhood.
Maine Eye Center, which is currently at 15 Lowell St. in Portland, is asking the town to change the zoning of the six-acre parcel from residential to bio-medical.
During a public meeting hosted by the Scarborough Economic Development Corp. Tuesday night, representatives from Maine Eye Center and developer DLM Corp. presented the plans for the building and parking lot.
SEDCO initially proposed the zoning change to match the zoning across the street at the Maine Medical Research Facility, before the Maine Department of Transportation-owned property was under contract.
“It’s going to develop, it’s going to sell. So we asked ourselves, what is the best development for Scarborough and for the neighborhood?” SEDCO Executive Director Harvey Rosenfeld said during the meeting.
Rosenfeld said the proposed building would be worth between $6 million and $9 million.
“Our building right now is located in a neighborhood,” Maine Eye Care CEO Richard McArdle said. “We’ve tried to be good neighbors.”
McArdle said the practice, which employs approximately 100 people, has outgrown its Portland space. He also said that the business operates only between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., which would limit increases in traffic to the neighborhood to hours when most people aren’t home.
Residents of the neighborhood were not convinced.
“We’re all very, very concerned about making this change now,” Chris Caiazzo, who lives on Elmwood Avenue, said. “You’re asking us to take a leap of faith that this is best for the neighborhood, but in the past, that has not been the case.”
Caiazzo and several other residents cited the recent construction of a hospice in the neighborhood, which they said brought light pollution and heavy traffic.
Other residents suggested the town consider a contract zone, which would more tightly control plans for development. While Maine Eye Care representatives balked at the idea, Rosenfeld said the town could consider a contract zone as an option.
Councilor Judy Roy, who lives on Greenacres Lane across from the proposed development, attended the meeting and said she prefers a single commercial development over more homes and was leaning toward allowing the zone change.
“I see the building as a better buffer than now,” Roy said.
The council will discuss and vote on the zoning change at its Dec. 1 meeting.
Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This drawing, created by DLM Corp., shows the two-story Maine Eye Center medical building proposed for a siz-acre parcel on Route 1 in Scarborough. Some residents of the abutting Greenacres development opppose a zone change required for the construction.