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10/16/2017

Council rejects bid to extend business zone on residential Fowler Road

Residential property at 27 Fowler Road will remain residential.

The Town Council on Oct. 11, 2017 voted to deny a request from Brad Pearson, owner of Anything Goes, to rezone the property for business use. Pearson was also seeking to add "landscape contractor" to the types of businesses allowed in the zone.

Pearson's parents ran Anything Goes for years as a home occupation until it outgrew the Fowler Road location and was moved to South Portland by the younger Pearson. Pearson was looking to move the business back to Fowler Road to be closer to his Cape Elizabeth customers.

After a series of workshop meetings, public hearings and a site visit, the Planning Board however recommended that the council deny the rezoning. "It was really a tough decision," Planning Board chair Carol Anne Jordan told members of the council at their meeting Oct. 11.

On one hand, the property abuts a business zone and includes a right-of-way for the neighboring gravel pit owned by L.P. Murray and Sons. On the other hand, concerns about traffic, unresolved code violations and setting a precedent for future rezonings led the Planning Board to recommend denial by a 6-1 vote at their September meeting.

The council's reasons for concurring with the recommendation were as varied as the Planning Board's. Councilor Kathy Ray said her major concern was the code violations, which Pearson described as berms of dirt spreading to neighboring yards; and which Ray said were first reported in 2008.

Councilors Caitlin Jordan and Jamie Garvin said they were concerned about the four residential lots that would be sandwiched between the proposed business-zone extension and the Town Center zone to the north. Councilor Sara Lennon said she too was concerned about nearby residents who purchased their property assuming the zoning would remain residential. "I think whenever possible we should avoid rezoning things on the edge of other districts because it suddenly makes the line permeable and changeable, and that makes people lose confidence in a property that they've invested a lot of money in," Lennon said.