2017-11-09 / News

OOB to determine downtown design guidelines

By Grant McPherson
Staff Writer

OLD ORCHARD BEACH – Discussion of a new design district along Temple Avenue has been postponed until the appearance of gateways in town has been finalized.

Design Review Committee members met Monday, Nov. 6 to decide what kind of regulations might be put in place along Temple Avenue between the beach and railroad tracks. However, the group decided that gateways into town should be a priority for future meetings. Possible gateway locations include East Grand Avenue at the Scarborough town line, West Grand Avenue at the Saco town line, Route 5 next to Old Orchard Beach Campground, Cascade Road at the Saco line, Ross Road at the Scarborough town line and Old Orchard Road at the Saco line.

Committee members did not discuss in detail what the gateways would look like, but planned to in their next meeting, which has not been scheduled.

“Signage and landscaping, those are the first two things I notice when I drive anywhere,” said Kim Schwickrath, Design Review Committee member.

Once gateway details have been chosen, the committee will then decide if it wants to impose regulations along Temple Avenue that relate to historic preservation. The proposal was brought forth by committee member Frank Manduca. He’d like to keep the buildings along Temple Avenue in a traditional Victorian style.

“It would be nice to try to keep it that way,” he said. “I’m only concerned with the lot size primarily and the shape or external appearance.”

Manduca suggested including exceptions for families based on income that might not be able to afford necessary changes to conform to regulations. He’d also like to limit the maximum height of buildings at 35 feet.

The committee has regulation options it could implement. The first would be a historic district ordinance, which would follow guidelines from the Secretary of the Department of Interior. The second would be a historic overlay district, which the town already has in place in some areas and would most likely require consultation from the state. The final option would be a DD-1 or DD-2 Downtown Zoning district. The purpose of the DD-1 and DD-2 is to preserve the historical aesthetic within downtown.

“We would be creating a district that has one set of standards appropriate for all the development along that corridor,” said Town Planner Jeffrey Hinderliter. “The historic overlay district is more restrictive. It would require review for any sort of development in that area.”

Once the committee decides what standards it wants to impose within the district it would have to bring the recommendations before the planning board. Then residents in the proposed districted would be invited to a public hearing to provide input. City staff would then write the ordinance before final approval by the Design Review Committee.

“It seems like this committee is best suited to create a draft and then provide a recommendation to the planning board,” Hinderliter said.

Contact staff writer Grant McPherson at news@inthecourier.com

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