Scarborough panel identifies 48 properties worth preserving

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SCARBOROUGH — The ad hoc Historic Preservation Committee presented a list of 48 properties worthy of protection in a workshop before Wednesday’s Town Council meeting.

The list, which includes residential and public properties on Black Point Road, Pine Point Road, Dunstan Landing Road and U.S. Route 1, has been winnowed down from 1,200 properties that were initially identified in the early 1990s, Town Manager Tom Hall said Thursday morning.

The need for preservation was spurred for many town officials, Hall said, when the 18th-century Black Point Road building commonly known as the Widow’s Walk fell into disrepair and was eventually torn down in 2013. It was replaced by the Bellavita at Scarborough assisted-living facility.

The refined list presented to the council Wednesday night represents the “cream of the crop” in terms of which properties need attention, Hall said.

Properties on that list include the Winslow Homer studio, the Grange Hall, the Mulberry Milliken Tavern, and the Higgins Beach Inn. A  list of all 48 properties can be found in the meeting agenda, on the town’s website. 

The next step for the committee and the council is to amend the current zoning ordinance, Hall said. Beyond that, the town will have to discern how to best implement preservation efforts.

In many towns, sometimes stringent zoning and design standards and requirements are coupled with the establishment of a historic preservation district.

Scarborough is interested in an alternative route.

Rather than setting stipulations in conjunction with an amended zoning ordinance, the ad hoc committee is interested in an incentive-based approach. Those incentives, some of which are still being fashioned, include density bonuses and fee reductions or waivers, Hall said. 

Scarborough is “steeped in history,” he said. “This town is more than 360 years old, and, surprisingly, there aren’t too many historical structures left.”

The ad hoc committee will likely meet with the council again in February.

Workplace award

At the Town Council meeting that followed the workshop, Steve Greeley, director of the Workplace Safety and Health Division for the Bureau of Labor Standards, and Mike LePlante, manager of the Workplace Safety and Health Division, presented the town with the Safety and Health Award for Public Employers.

Since its inception in 2005, the SHAPE public-sector award has only been given to 44 employers. “We don’t give these out lightly,” LePlante told the council. 

Scarborough is also the sixth town to qualify for the award in every department, a feat LePlante called “monumental.” 

Qualifying factors for the award included reducing the rate of workdays lost to injury and illness, and a total recordable case rate below the state average. 

In addition to receiving a plaque, the town will be exempt from Bureau of Labor Standards routine inspections for one year.

LePlante and Greeley encouraged the town to continue seeking award renewal in subsequent years. “Celebrate tonight, but starting tomorrow morning, the work continues,” Greeley said.

Now that the town has succeeded in clearing “the first hurdle, we hope the renewal will be far easier,” Hall said. 

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or aacquisto@theforecaster.net. Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA

Employees of the town of Scarborough flank Steve Greeley, of the Maine Department of Labor, as he presents the Safety and Health Award for Public Employers on Wednesday to Carrie Noyes, Scarborough’s human resources coordinator. The town earned the award for exemplary health and safety standards. 

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South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.