2015-02-06 / Community

Prime wants to buy property for parking

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

A plan for Prime Motor Group to expand its parking lot and showroom area was passed on to the Planning Board at the Town Council’s Jan. 21 meeting.

Prime Motor Group is working on acquiring 151 Route 1, which houses a Sunoco gas station, in an effort to expand its Route 1 showroom. A purchase and sales agreement has been signed.

The Prime dealership sells high-end cars, including Mercedes Benz.

To expand parking and the showroom, however, the group will need to get the council to agree to amend a 12-year-old contract zone agreement.

Contract zones, according to the Zoning Ordinance, are created when a proposed use is not allowed in a given zone, but is consistent with the town’s comprehensive plan. The Town Council has authority over a contract zone, which must have a public benefit

“We are not looking to put up any additional structures, just an expanded parking area,” said Dan Doucette, general manager of the Scarborough dealership. The expanded parking lot would include 48 new parking spaces, including 11 facing Route 1. Aside from removing the Sunoco station, Prime will cover the cost of installing a new sidewalk along the property, and improving landscaping and drainage on the site. Prime would also remove the curb cuts to eliminate the property’s access to Route 1.

Scarborough Town Manager Tom Hall said the original contract zone agreement was approved in 2002 to convert the site from a run-down industrial site to a car dealership.

“I think it was clear to the council at that time that what we see today was a vast improvement over what existed prior,” Hall said.

Town Councilor Shawn Babine ispleased with how the Prime dealership has operated since opening on Route 1.

“I think the development not only met its expectations, but exceeded it,” said Babine, who spoke in favor of the Prime development in 2002. “I believe the new development even exceeds that.”

Town Council Chairman Jessica Holbrook said Prime’s plan will not only improve the aesthetics of the area, but make it safer to pass through.

“I think the Sunoco is an eyesore,” Holbrook said. “With these sorts of things, you think about what could go there. It could stay a gas station, but it’s not a good location for a gas station. That’s a dangerous section to pull in and out of.”

Holbrook said she appreciates Prime’s plan to “get rid of the curb cuts and close it off.”

“You are going to make it look, clearly a lot nicer than it does. It has my support,” she said.

The Planning Board is expected to address the issue at an upcoming meeting, although no date has been set.

Aside from reviewing Prime Motor Group’s contract zone amendment request, the Town Council also took a look at amendments to the town’s general assistance ordinance. The amendments, which Hall called an “annual right of passage,” are dictated by the state and primarily deal with parameters an individual, or family, must meet to qualify for food or housing assistance. The council was expected to approve the amendments on Feb. 4, which was after the Leader’s deadline.

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