To the Residents Group and Others on the Pine Point Mailing List
Update May 19, 2006
Here is some news. More information can be found at www.pinepointbeach.com
HOLLIS SUBDIVISION ON VACANT LOT
Mr. Hollis held a site visit with Planning Board members two weeks ago. He now goes before the Board for preliminary approval. Mr. Hollis met with us so we could update the group and we’ve learned the following:
- Mr. Hollis met with the Town and intends to deed the “Open Space” portion of his plan to the Town of Scarborough with no restrictions. He will also be proposing a wide granite-curbed sidewalk along the Pine Point Rd. (beginning at the intersection of East Grand Ave. and the Pine Point Rd., to the proposed entrance to the subdivision, then onto the open space area. This will be for public access to the open space. He also will landscape this future public area (with low-height vegetation to maintain public ocean views) and install a low, open-style fence between the open space and the private way. This development was good news for our group as it was one of the suggestions we made to him and the Planning Board in our recent report to them. As you recall, our group adopted the position that both the Hotel and Vacant lot should provide some additional land to expand the public right of way. The Hotel declined and has since withdrawn its plans, but Mr. Hollis has been amenable to the proposal. This latest plan by Mr. Hollis meets that goal and we consider it a generous offer which we believe the Town and Planning Board will be receptive to. The staff in the Planning Department and the Town Manager are reportedly in agreement with it. We still suggest that he consider extending a right-of-way from the Open Space area to the low water mark. It is important to understand this plan in terms of the future; if the Hotel ultimately decides to renew their effort to convert to condominiums, they will undoubtedly have to ask the Town for the land exchange which may result in the hotel parking strip being deeded to the Town and the public way will then directly abut the Open Space Mr. Hollis proposes giving to the Town. It should still be our expectation that the land exchange include additional property from the hotel to the Town, just as we have proposed throughout this long process. If that happens, you can visualize a substantial amount of public space between these two developed parcels – which would be the win-win-win we’ve sought all along. For now, it looks like we may achieve half of that plan. When the other half happens is hard to predict. Attached is a plan showing this space.
- Mr. Hollis plans to keep the entire road private. We had proposed that the portion of the subdivision road that abuts the open space be made public for future possibilities. But he feels that maintaining it as a private way is essential to the privacy of the subdivision.
- Regarding the beach area, Mr. Hollis and Town staff reportedly have determined that it would be better to actually deed the beach area (the intertidal zone between high and low water) to the Town as part of the plan. Previously he intended to grant the Town an easement for the beach area, but the lots would still be held in private ownership. You will recall that the deed for this parcel describes ownership to the low water mark, as many ocean front properties do. To avoid any future challenges of public use by private landowners of beach property (such as that which happened at Moody Beach many years ago), the easement was originally proposed by Mr. Hollis. Actually deeding that land appears to strengthen the public’s rights to the beach even further against any unreasonable claims that may occur in the future. We contacted Paul Lesperance, the Town Tax Assessor, and asked what the Town’s policy is regarding tax value on property to the low water mark. He indicated that the value is determined by the usable portion of the property, not portions in resource protection. We verified that by looking at the Town’s website; the properties along the shore show parcel sizes much smaller than their actual dimensions. So deeding the intertidal portion of these lots will not mean lost tax revenue, we’re told.
- The ocean front lots’ building envelopes have been moved about 50 feet landward from the dunes and are now almost entirely within the existing “parking lot” on that parcel. That was a change some members of the Planning Board wanted to see, and Paul Hollis re-engineered the original plan accordingly. If you were to look at the line of concrete blocks that separates the dunes from the old parking lot, that is the approximate boundary of the building envelopes (see the web site for the revised plan). Mr. Hollis indicated that another change regarding the ocean front lots is that no lawns will be created on the seaward side of the homes in the dune area, and very visible, permanent granite markers will be erected at this point so lot owners and the public will know that that area must be left undisturbed, even though it is privately owned.
- For these concessions, Mr. Hollis may receive a 10 foot setback relief from the front setback (along the private way) of the four ocean front lots, if the Board approves these plans.
We asked Mr. Hollis about his intention to hold another neighborhood meeting. His letter of March 16th indicated that he will be presenting the proposed covenants, restrictions, landscaping plan and other information. He indicated that he will be scheduling this in June, soon after his next hearing with the Planning Board. At that time, he will outline all of the changes since his first proposal and seek public input. He has invited us to participate regarding our work on the Special Town Council Committee and we have agreed.
A letter is being mailed from Paul Hollis to his mailing list this weekend. We will also forward a copy of it to our e-mail list as a courtesy.
You should know that the next step with the Planning Board is “Preliminary Approval” not final approval. Final approval could come on June 26th, the next scheduled Planning Board meeting. We will keep you informed.
We would also like to hold a meeting of the Residents Group so we can review the Committee process with you and answer questions about where the hotel conversion stands, the turnaround and open space concepts, and other issues. The Residents Group may wish to revise and adopt new positions on a number of issues. As you know, we have not taken any public position on your behalf regarding the Hollis subdivision because you have not authorized that. We have been guided only by what we voted on last August. The Residents Group may wish to adopt a position on that plan and the Barrier Alternative Plan (below).
WE HAVE SCHEDULED WED. JUNE 21st at 7:00, ENGINE 4 FIRE STATION for a meeting of the Residents Group.
(we can’t use Blue Point School in the summer, but will meet downstairs in the fire station for handicap accessibility)
TRAFFIC BARRIER ALTERNATIVE
When the Town Manager concluded the Special Committee last month, we asked about the plans for the barriers at the hotel. He indicated to us that he told the hotel owners that the Town would be taking care of those from now on. We asked if we could propose some ideas for an alternative to those barriers, since they have been a major concern for many years, and he agreed. The long-held belief that there was a town ordinance which required these barriers was found to be false. We submitted ideas (which we previously posted on the web site) and Mr. Owens liked some of the ideas and agreed to pass them along to the town engineers. In a recent e-mail, Mr. Owens said he is working on a concept and hopes to have a definitive plan to us to share with the group, so please be on the lookout for that. Something will be done by the end of May or first week in June, he stated.
It’s been a long process, but as we look back we feel that we have accomplished the following:
- Slowed down the process so the public had time to participate
- Organized a formal group of citizens with clear positions on many issues
- Proposed a study committee to the Town Council which was approved; it was unable to reach agreement, but the issues were placed on the table and it served to generate widespread support for the basic principles that the public access at the end of the Pine Point Rd. must be reclaimed, protected and improved, and that the Town should receive a tangible benefit if it were to facilitate a private development.
- The Hollis gift of over 3,000 SF of open space to the Town meets one of our group’s goals to expand the public way.
- Our group has earned the respect of Town Officials who are asking us to participate in a short term solution to the barrier problem.
Mr. Hollis will be before the Planning Board on June 5th. You can see the agenda on the Town Web site.
Mr. Hollis has notified us of a second public meeting about his plans at Blue Point School) on June 7th at 7:00
We are calling a meeting of the Residents Group to update everyone and consider new Group positions. New members are welcome!
WEDNESDAY JUNE 21st at 7:00, ENGINE 4 FIRE STATION
June 26th is the Next Planning Board Meeting
Please let us know if you have any questions.
John, Jack, Judy