LOOKING BACK – Issue of Jan. 31, 2002

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(Editor’s note: Looking Back is a weekly column including news items reported 10 years ago in The Current, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in September 2011.)

Issue of Jan. 31, 2002

Managing traffic generated by a proposed Great American Neighborhood in Dunstan village is the biggest hurdle facing the project’s approval.

The traffic problem was once again the main topic of conversation at a meeting between the Scarborough Planning Board and the developers Monday.

Board Chairman Rick Shinay said that although the board itself cannot solve the traffic issues at the corner of Broadturn Road, Pine Point Road and Route 1, traffic building up at that intersection is “the biggest land use implication of this project. I’m not ready to say that traffic concerns are an insurmountable part of this project. But there’s no doubt that this is the biggest issue,” Shinay said.

Other board members indicated that until the two intersections in Dunstan are “fixed,” they would not be prepared to give approval to the Great American Neighborhood project.

Board member Cindy Taylor said for her to be comfortable with the project, as proposed, the “traffic issue needs to be solved first. It’s too hard to separate these issues from the project itself,” Taylor said.

Board member Susan Auglis said the proposal “can’t avoid the traffic problems. In general, I have enthusiasm for this idea, but it’s not going anywhere until the traffic issue is resolved. I have no problems with this concept, but Dunstan is not the place for it,” Auglis said.

Sharman Kivatisky, the Scarborough resident who has led a crusade to restrict hunting in town, is putting off plans for a referendum while she works with the Town Council to craft a compromise.

But the Town Council, which gave a cool reception to limits on hunting at a workshop last week, may not be willing to bend as far as Kivatisky would like them to. Kivatisky plans to come to the next council meeting on Feb. 6 to continue lobbying her cause.

Originally, Kivatisky lobbied for a blanket ban on hunting in the town because some areas had become so developed that she felt hunting wasn’t safe. Now, Kivatisky wants hunting banned east of the turnpike.

“I would like to see it go to an ad hoc committee and get people together to talk about changes,” said Kivatisky. “I would like to see no hunting east of the Turnpike. This way everybody wins.”

Although more than 90 percent of Cape Elizabeth is zoned residential, the town is one of the slowest growing communities in the county.

Town Manager Mike McGovern said there always will be concerns over new residential development in Cape Elizabeth, where the town government and the residents do all they can to preserve the town’s rural character. But he is not concerned about “being overrun by new housing developments.”

“In the 1990s, Cape was one of the slowest growing towns in Cumberland County and I expect that trend to continue,” McGovern said, referring to statistics in the 2000 Census. In Cape, there are currently no curbs on building new houses.

In contrast, Scarborough is one of the fastest growing communities in the state, and has instituted a growth ordinance, which limits the number of building permits given out in a single year.

Nathaniel Whittemore and Jeffery Vautin, both graduating seniors at Scarborough High School, have been named one of more than 2,600 candidates in the 2002 Presidential Scholars Program. The candidates were selected from nearly 2.8 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in the year 2002.

Maine’s Department of Transportation still lists Scarborough’s Eight Corners as the third worst intersection in the state, but according to neighbors and town officials, highway improvements have made the once notorious spot much safer.

“It’s better than it ever was,” said Peter Walsh Jr., who runs the Eight Corners Market.

Department of Transportation engineer, Ralph Webster, said construction done in 2000 was intended to reduce accidents and move traffic along more efficiently.

The project widened the roads, improving visibility, and added a traffic light at the Route 114-Mussey Road intersection.

It seems to have worked. “We were getting three or four (accidents) a week,” Walsh said of the time before the construction. In an interview in mid-December, he said he hadn’t seen an accident in three weeks.

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