As we head further into the fall season, we will see a change in elected officials on Town Council, an outcome on the school building project, fun seasonal programs, and more. We'll be sure to share election results next week, and in the meantime we encourage you to vote this week or on Election Day. We also have an upcoming Council Corner Live on Thursday for you to connect with your councilors, and some other staff updates, reminders, and upcoming dates from across Town departments. Read on and bundle up as the cold weather arrives!
Check our Town Calendar for a look at upcoming meetings. The next Town Council meeting is on November 8 (there is no November 1 meeting). The meeting was postponed to allow the council to certify the election results. Their following meeting will remain as scheduled on Wednesday, November 15. (Council meetings are typically the 1st & 3rd Wednesday monthly)
Election Day is Tuesday, November 7
Election Day is Tuesday, November 7, 2023 for the Municipal and State Referendum Election. Voting will be available at the High School from 7:00am to 8:00pm. Look for the large "Vote Here Tuesday" sign at the building entrance.
Before You Vote: Review Our Voter Guide
We've put together a voter guide to help you make a voting plan, including when and where you'll vote, what's on the ballot, and more.
Early in-person absentee voting is available at Town Hall through Thursday, November 2nd from 7:00am-5:00pm. On Monday, November 6th voters must have a special circumstance in order to vote by absentee/early voting (contact the Clerk's office). If you have an absentee ballot, drop it off at the Town Clerk's office or in the ballot box in front of the entrance anytime before or on Election Day.
If you have any questions, please contact the Town Clerk’s Office at (207) 730-4020.
Welcome Rebecca, Active Adults Program Coordinator
This month we welcomed Rebecca Voisich into the new role of Active Adults Program Coordinator. This position largely coordinates our array of Community Services programs for our age 55+ residents.
Rebecca grew up on Long Island and lived in New York until moving to Maine this past month. In New York she was working as a public librarian with a focus on adult and senior programming. “Libraries are another form of a community center,” she says.
Her days will likely look a lot different with Scarborough Community Services, though. In her first few weeks, she’s been calling Bingo, eating turkey legs on a train in New Hampshire as part of a senior trip, and making many pots of coffee. “The seniors LOVE coffee. In this regard, we are one in the same.”
Rebecca was drawn to this job because she loves serving a community through recreational programming. She’s excited to be immersed in the Scarborough community and become part of the seniors’ daily lives, a friendly face they can come to trust and rely on. “I believe these programs can have an immediate and powerful impact on their quality of life. Plus, what's better than playing games and going on trips with community members for a living??”
Outside of work Rebecca spends most of her free time reading. She also loves playing and watching sports and is a huge Chelsea FC fan. She loves football Sundays with her boyfriend (let’s go Jets!!). You’ll also find her being active outdoors and training for a 10K run. Lastly, “I would be remiss if I did not share that I am the BIGGEST Winnie the Pooh fan to ever exist.” Welcome Rebecca, a great new addition to our team!
Sign Up for a Senior Program
The mission of the 55+ Programs is to give all seniors an opportunity to maintain dignity, enrich their quality of living, and actively promote participation in all aspects of community life. Check out the variety of programs, from weekly lunches to bingo, trips, and more in our Fall Brochure.
Join us for Council Corner LIVE, a two-way conversation and a chance for you to get to know your councilors and talk with them candidly about hot topic issues in town. This month's will be facilitated by councilors April Sither and Nick McGee.
This month's topic is on Short Term Rentals: While Scarborough's coastal neighborhoods have long been a vacation destination, there is an increasing perception that the number of short term rentals have sharply increased over the last five years and expanded into non-traditional rental neighborhoods. Many second home owners have long used rental income to offset property taxes and the cost of up-keep, but concerns are growing that the boom in rental properties are driving increasing real estate prices and that a lack of oversight may be cause for safety concerns or more frequent disturbances in otherwise quiet residential neighborhoods.
Share your input with councilors: Should Scarborough regulate these properties? Should they implement registration or licensing? Should they require inspections for public health and safety? Should the Town cap how many days, weeks or months a home owner can rent a property? Should there be a minimum stay required? How do we even propose to define short term rental? All of these questions and more will be discussed and the Council warmly welcomes your input and feedback.
Nov 9: Public Meeting on Rt 1/Pine Point Rd Resiliency
Join the Town of Scarborough for a public meeting to learn more about the Rt 1/Pine Point Rd infrastructure resiliency project. The Town is partnering with the Maine Department of Transportation (Maine DOT) on a project called “Climate-Ready Infrastructure: Building a Resilient Route 1 and Pine Point Road”.
Scarborough was one of 75 communities to receive a Community Action Grant to fight and adapt to climate change. Scarborough received $46,240 for this project in April 2022.
Flooding over Route 1 at the Scarborough Marsh during a January 2022 storm event.
“Past studies identified these sections of roads as two of the most vulnerable in Scarborough,” said Jami Fitch, Scarborough Sustainability Manager. US Route 1 is a major mobility corridor that stretches through the heart of Scarborough. Approximately 30,000 vehicles travel the road on a daily basis. It serves as a critical evacuation route, economic corridor, and connection between the greater Portland and Saco areas. Pine Point Road (State Route 9) is a less traveled road but is similarly critical to those who live, work, and play in Pine Point. This roadway is the primary access point to Scarborough’s largest beach community and also serves as the primary evacuation route for approximately 900 properties in Scarborough Pine Point neighborhood.
Both roads are regularly inundated by sea water during astronomical high tides and/or storm events, and the need to address its infrastructure has been identified on both a State and local level. Maine DOT listed these areas as two of the top priority resiliency projects in the State due to their vulnerability to sea level rise. Past studies, including those carried out by the Sea Level Adaptation Working Group (SLAWG) and private consultants, have also identified these roads among Scarborough’s most vulnerable. Scarborough’s Comprehensive Plan identifies resiliency planning for the Town’s critical infrastructure as a significant priority for the Town. In a 2022 community meeting on climate change and resiliency, 89% of participants at the indicated that they were “very concerned” about resiliency on Scarborough’s infrastructure.
The Scarborough Marsh is Maine’s largest salt marsh and is an essential habitat for many threatened and endangered species. The Marsh is also impacted by sea level rise and development pressures within its watershed. Any alteration to the US Route 1 and Pine Point Road will need to consider potential impacts to the Marsh. Attend the public meeting to learn more.
On October 18, the Town Council officially adopted revised Lighting Standards. The Sustainability Committee, Planning Board and Staff worked to consolidate existing standards and update where necessary. These revised standards can be found in Chapter 405B Site Plan Review Ordinance, Section H.
Learn more about the changes that were proposed and subsequently approved.
Planning Board to Meet Monthly Starting in 2024
Beginning January 2024, the Planning Board will move to a once per month meeting schedule. Planning Board meetings will be held on the third Monday of each month, unless otherwise stated. The Development Review Process will now include a Development Review meeting with applicants and reviewers on Wednesdays two weeks before the Planning Board meetings. This additional step in the process will add one week to the overall submittal process, allowing applicants more time to review comments and have an opportunity for dialogue with reviewers prior to the Planning Board meeting.
Planning Board meeting recordings are available to view on YouTube
Scarborough Planning Board approved two projects that will soon begin construction:
Patriot Acura is finishing up pre-load of the site at the intersection of Payne Road and Haigis Parkway. The pre-load allows the soils to settle and become compacted prior to construction. The development team expects to begin foundation work shortly with construction of the 23,985 square foot auto dealership to follow in 2024. The project was first approved as a Contract Zone by the Town Council in 2019 which was followed with site plan approval by the Planning Board. The plan was last amended in 2022 to include minor architectural, landscape, and utility changes.
AR Building, a 10 building multifamily project at the intersection of Mussey Road and Gorham Road, will also begin construction this fall. The project provides 120 one- and two-bedroom apartment units in the Eight Corners neighborhood and includes conservation of 32 acres of open space adjacent to Warren Woods.
Know a friend or neighbor who should be getting these updates? Let them know! Simply go to www.scarboroughmaine.org/stay-connected to sign up. Thank you for helping to make our town more informed.
Our clocks and watches turn back an hour on Sunday, November 5 at 2:00am for the end of Daylight Savings Time. Sunrise and sunset will occur an hour earlier as well. Bonus, you will get an extra hour of sleep!
Winter Reminders from Public Works
Somehow, winter is just around the corner…wasn’t it just July? Like, yesterday?
Consider this your annual (unnecessary) reminder that winter is on its way. Whether you are gleefully anticipating or grumpily dreading the coming season, there are a few (necessary) things to keep in mind:
• Clear all items (basketball hoops, etc.) from the edge of the roadways. Please move them back at least 12 – 15 feet from the edge of the pavement. This better enables us to clear the roads properly and reduces the possibility of items and equipment being damaged.
• Please be aware of and abide by parking bans. When cars are left parked on the street during a storm/parking ban, it significantly affects our ability to clear the roadways, and entire sections of streets may be negatively affected as a result. Also, your car may be towed at your expense. No one wants that.
• Snow tires are pretty important during Maine winters. If you don’t have them, you should get some. Soon.
• Remember to place your trash and recycle carts in your driveway, not on the roadside. They can be placed a few feet up into your driveway – the “arms” on the trash trucks can reach them even if they are a few feet back.
• When it snows, road conditions worsen. It doesn’t matter if you drive a tank. Allow yourself extra time, go slow, watch for others that seem to think snow and ice does not affect the roadways, and get to where you are going safely!
• When clearing your driveway of snow, please do not place the snow into the roadways. This creates dangerous (and unnecessary) conditions for everyone. Furthermore, when clearing the snow, remember to clear it to the down side (or right side) of your driveway. Trust me, this will save you a backache (and/or headache) when you have to re-clear your driveway after the plow comes through, and plops it all right back into your driveway.
• Dig out the snowblower. Doing this now, before you actually need it is advisable. Look it over, kick the tires, give it an oil change, and some general overall TLC. Remove the mouse nest(s). Make sure all parts are working correctly. If you do this, and do a thorough job of it, maybe it won’t snow this year. One can only hope.
For the next few months, a specialized company will be dredging the Scarborough River as part of a federal project. Michels Construction Inc. will be mobilizing equipment starting on approximately November 1 in preparation. Dredging will occur on the Scarborough River starting at Pine Point, Portland, ME (LAT/LONG: 43.54408441503761, -70.32790745798174).
Operations will begin on approximately November 13, 2023, occurring 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The work will consist of the “Dredge Carolina” clearing sand out of the Scarborough River Channel and placing it on the beach. Sand will be manipulated into place on the beach via a bulldozer. Operations will continue through January 10, 2024, or until work completion.
Accepting Letters to Santa Starting November 10
Start thinking about Christmas! Scarborough Community Services will soon begin accepting letters from children to be sent to Santa Claus before the Christmas season.
Letters may be dropped in the North Pole Express mailbox at the front of Town Hall beginning November 10 and running through November 30. Use this template to fill out information so that Santa can send a personalized letter in return! Printed templates will be available to pickup at Town Hall, the Scarborough Library, and the Community Services Hub.
If you cannot drop your letter in our mailbox, you may mail the letters to the address on the reverse side of the template (Santa Claus, c/o SCS Elves, P.O. Box 360, Scarborough, ME 04070-0360). Letters may also be dropped off at the Hub at 418 Payne Road in Scarborough.
The Scarborough Community Services Office has assisted the U.S. Department of State with the acceptance of U.S. passport applications for the past ten years, and each year the need continues to grow. Passports applications are accepted at the Community Services Hub by appointment only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. While we hold limited Saturday hours throughout the year, we also try to offer days when school is closed and it’s a little easier on families.
For our Fall Passport Day, we will have multiple staff members on hand to answer all of your questions, assist you through the process, and accept your applications. We previously required appointments for our recent Passport Days, but are happy to be returning to a drop-in system. These days have been quite busy in the past, so please plan to arrive early to be sure that your application can be accepted.
Each applicant will need the following materials:
Evidence of Citizenship
2 Checks or Money Orders
Additional documents may be required depending on individual circumstances
For more information on what is required to apply for a passport, please call the Scarborough Community Services Office at 207-730-4150, or you may visit the only official website for passports at Travel.State.Gov.
November 2: Protecting Forests & Connected Habitat
The Scarborough Conservation Commission, Scarborough Land Trust, Scarborough Public Library, and Friends of Scarborough Marsh invite you to learn about how our critical natural resources may be impacted in the future and how groups are working to protect them. Next in the speaker series:
Maine has a lot of forestland, which we sometimes take for granted. But did you know our forests are globally significant? Come learn about the important role they play for wildlife, biodiversity and climate, and the special nature of older forests for fish, wildlife, carbon storage, and high-quality timber. Attendance is free, but registration with the Library is encouraged.
Fire Department Hosts 2nd Annual Jr. Firefighter Muster
New Date: Sunday, November 5 *Rescheduled from last Sunday
Scarborough Fire Department, 275 US Route 1
The Town of Scarborough Fire Department rescheduled its Second Annual Maine Junior Firefighters Muster, now taking place this Sunday, November 5. This event is open to all Maine Fire Departments, and Vocational Technical Schools with junior and/or explorer firefighter programs ages (14-18). These programs are critical to the sustainability of our departments and are a great way to show these aspiring firefighters how important they and their programs are to Maine's Fire Service future. This event will be free for all. Lunch, snacks, and drinks will be provided.
Call Company firefighters Peter Igneri and Daryen Granata tell us more about it in this video.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and it's time to make your reservation for the 8th Annual Scarborough Community Thanksgiving Dinner! Join Scarborough Community Services, Police Department, and other community partners at Scarborough Community Thanksgiving for a traditional turkey dinner at Wentworth. It will be held on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23, from 11am - 1pm. This event is completely free and made possible by generous sponsors.
The Town of Scarborough is conducting a community survey this fall. This is an initiative of the Town Council and has been a critical tool for guiding council goals and prioritizing community investments (a similar survey was conducted in Fall 2021). A random sample of households will receive a mailed copy in the next few days if they haven't arrived already and are encouraged to share feedback. An open online link will be available to all who do not receive a mailed copy in December.
Council Corner: "Don't Let the Door Hit You in the...On the Way Out"
By John Cloutier
John Cloutier's term on Town Council ends this month.
"Don't let the door hit you in the...on the way out". That tagline is something I remember my Dad saying quite often growing up, and that I probably appreciate a little bit better now. It’s time for me to bid adieu to my service on Scarborough’s Town Council. What a privilege it was to help shape a small piece of Scarborough’s history. While this was intended to be a reflective piece, I find myself at a loss for words given the senseless tragedy that unfolded in Lewiston last week. Having been born and raised in Lewiston, I still feel a very strong connection to that community. It’s a special place, with some of the best people that I know.
They’re gritty, honest, loyal, and maybe a little rough around the edges. I always feel safe and welcome there but admit that sometimes you have to look a little past the words to fully appreciate what is being said. I speak their language, and acknowledge that although I’ve lived in Scarborough for 16 years, I’m still learning Scarborough’s way.
I leave you with a tax rate that is lower than when I took office (16.49 then vs 15.97 now) and we reduced our debt by 20% ($103M then vs $82M now). We did this while navigating uncertain times brought on by the pandemic and inflationary forces the likes of which haven’t been seen for decades. We battled through our first revaluation in 14 years and weathered the loss of just about every senior staff member while continuing to receive some of the highest satisfaction ratings that our Town’s survey vendor had ever seen. We planned for our newest neighborhood (The Downs) and worked to understand what would be needed for a successful Community Center. We addressed unprecedented homelessness, brought on by a lack of affordable housing, with compassion, dignity and respect. I’m proud of the time that I spent serving Scarborough, but incredibly proud of the wonderful people that I got to work with and observe in action every day. It’s those people that I will miss the most.
While you can’t vote for me on November 8th, you can use your voice to help guide Scarborough into the Future. The need to address our K-8 school facilities is real, and the time to do so is now. I’m as frustrated as some of you with individual aspects of what is being proposed, but I also understand that the plan is fluid and identified issues will be resolved or mitigated to the extent possible. I moved to Scarborough for our small primary Schools, but now recognize that we can and should do better. The proposed solution solves all of our space and capacity issues for the foreseeable future, and will provide a safe, nurturing, inclusive and hands-on educational environment for children. It’s expensive for sure… but the cost of doing nothing has not yet been quantified or planned for. The proposed solution will have a very predictable impact on your taxes, and it will be similar to the small/incremental tax changes that we’ve become accustomed to in Scarborough.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Scarborough Town Council.
Scarborough Town Council
Jonathan Anderson, Chair • Jean-Marie Caterina • John Cloutier • Don Hamill • Nick McGee • Karin Shupe • April Sither
Town Council meets the first and third Wednesday of each month. Visit our Town Calendar for links to attend and view agendas.
Join the experts for a talk on how to prepare for emergencies, and what you need to know as colder weather approaches. The speakers are Fire Chief Kindelan (Scarborough Fire Dept.), District Chief Sandler - EMS (Scarborough Fire Dept.), and Deputy Director Milroy (Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency). This event is sponsored by Age-Friendly Scarborough.
Preventing Maine Care Loss
Friday, November 3, 10:00am-12:00pm
Drop in any time
Mariam Mahmassani and fellow Community Health Workers from the New England Arab American Organization invite you to learn about what do to keep your MaineCare, what to do if you lose it, and affordable health care alternatives. There will be a short presentation followed by opportunities to talk one-on-one or in small groups about the actionable steps.
Rated PG-13. Run time 1h 54m. Join us for a BARBIE PARTY! Come on Barbie, Let's Go Party! Costumes strongly encouraged. Photo booth. Snacks. Shenanigans of some sort. Costume contest. For Adults & Teens (and adults with a kid who is allowed to watch PG-13 movies, but this isn't your kindergartener's Barbie movie.)
Learn about Korean sijo poetry and try your hand at it in this interactive poetry workshop. David McCann is the Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Literature, Emeritus, at Harvard University, and has published thirty-one books including translations of Korean poets, studies on Korean literature, and ten collections of his own poetry. He is a renowned expert in sijo (shee-jo), a poetic form often compared with Japanese haiku.
"You're going to die. Why not die well? Preparation is key." Leona Oceania from Die Well Death Education will present a bi-monthly community Death Education series, exploring topics like why it's important to talk about death, legacy work, home funerals, writing your obituary, and more.
In this session, we will discuss why talking about death is important, and the benefits it can and does provide. We will review the process of creating an End-of-Life Plan, and discuss funeral and body disposition options (there are more than you think!).