Scarborough still wrestling with Pine Point Beach access

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SCARBOROUGH — The fate of a Pine Point Beach path still hangs in the balance after councilors Wednesday did not advance a proposal that would guarantee public access in exchange for discontinuing the town’s interest in the land. 

The Town Council also approved a zoning change along Haigis Parkway.

Councilors met in a workshop prior to their meeting, to discuss discontinuing Avenue 2, the beach path that runs from King Street between the properties of Charles P. Gendron and The Gables by the Sea Condominium Association. The path has historically been a public right of way, but it is uncertain who actually owns the land.

After the workshop, councilors could have added the item to their meeting agenda and voted to continue the process. But they decided to wait for more information about the value of the land, more time to inform residents and get input from them, and to see if it can be be determined if most of the voting members in the condominium association are in favor of the change.

In exchange for an order of discontinuance of Avenue 2, it is proposed that both Gendron and the condo association grant the town two easements: one to protect public access to Pine Point Beach forever, and a public conservation easement to restrict use by Gendron and the association, protect the landscape, and provide a landscaping plan for Gendron.

The public path easement will run the entire distance from King Street to the beach and would be 10 feet wide. Gendron and the condo association would each contribute 5 feet to the easement.

Benjamin T. McCall, an attorney hired by the town, told the council the the outcome hasn’t changed since the last workshop meeting May 2, although details of the easement have been amended several times. 

Since the last meeting residents from the Pine Point Neighborhood Association have hired an attorney to represent them in the matter, too. They are asking the town to provide signs that clearly state the path is for public beach access and that and motorized vehicles are not allowed.

“These documents do not effect ownership rights in any way shape or form,” McCall said.

At the heart of the issue is if the town doesn’t grant the discontinuance, Gendron could sue for property rights. If he wins, the town could lose public access and rack up legal bills fighting a potential lawsuit.

Gendron, who attended the workshop, has provided the town with a proposed landscaping plan that he would pay for and maintain. If he wanted to plant something different other than the plan specifies he would have to notify the town in writing to get approval.

Zoning change

Councilors approved a zoning ordinance change that would allow some storage facilities at Enterprise Business Park on Haigis Parkway, in the Haigis Parkway District.

This change was spurred by a request to build a 75,000- to 100,000-square-foot Bluebird Self Storage facility in the business park. 

Karen Martin, executive director of the Scarborough Economic Development Corp., told councilors the storage facility is a “different animal.”

She said the facilities in question would have mostly internal access points and  limited external access, unlike storage units that have many units with outside garage doors. The units would be climate-controlled and have material standards in line with other businesses in the area.

Councilors approved the proposal 5-1, with Councilor Will Rowan opposed.

But they failed to approve a second, related zoning map change that would allow the storage facility to be built on a lot that faces U.S. Route 1 but cannot be accessed by the road. 

A request was made to rezone the lot from General Business District B3 to the Haigis Parkway District, which would now allow the facility to be built. 

The vote on the change was 5-2 against the proposal, with Rowan and Chairman Shawn Babine in the minority. 

Babine said the change would have been a positive move and noted that the town has been trying to develop Haigis Parkway for many years.

Jason Vafiades, an engineer with Atlantic Resource Consultants, who was representing business park owner David Miley, said Bluebird is specifically interested in that particular lot, and he does not know if the storage facility would consider another lot.

Volunteer award

In other business, the council recognized Kevin Freeman with the town’s first Outstanding Municipal Volunteer Service Award. Freeman received the award Tuesday evening at the SEDCO annual meeting.

Freeman is SEDCO’s chairman, chairman of the Ad-Hoc Public Safety Complex Building Committee, and past president of the Scarborough Community Chamber of Commerce.

“You are just a born leader,” Councilor Kate St. Clair told Freeman. “I have never worked with someone so easy to talk to and communicate with. … You make this town a shining place to be.”

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or msochan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

Beachgoers walk by the Avenue 2 path that runs from King Street to Pine Point Beach in Scarborough.

Freeman

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