Recent surveys of Scarborough residents show they feel development has moved too quickly.
A sign for the Scarborough municipal campus is seen in this June 13, 2022, file photo. Credit: David Marino Jr. / BDN

The Scarborough Town Council is considering a new ordinance that would regulate the pace and location of new housing within the community.

The town has seen significant growth in recent years, driven largely by new development on the site of the former Scarborough Downs. The council said recent surveys of residents show they feel development has moved too quickly, and been unpredictable, placing a burden on the town’s infrastructure.

Council Chair John Anderson said, in recent years, the council has granted exemptions for many housing projects. But he said it’s now considering a proposal to limit development to 25 units a year in rural zones. Over three years, 300 units would be permitted in certain “growth areas,” and 450 units in the area around the Downs.

“So we’re trying to just direct the pace into that zone, while we grow at a slightly faster clip in some of the other areas, while really maintaining our conservation and rural footprint in a lot of Scarborough,” he said.

Anderson said he’d also like the town to be able to review additional affordable housing projects.

“Basically, what I hope is that we’re still open to those types of projects, so we don’t push them away. But at the same time, we need to evaluate our pace of growth, and make sure we can absorb the additional population and make sure we’re doing that,” he said.

The town will hold a public forum on the proposal next week, and give a first reading of the proposed ordinance in April.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.