Casco seeks change to business setbacks

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Casco Selectman Ray Grant thinks that the town’s commercial zone ordinance is too prohibitive. He suggested that changes to those zoning rules might help businesses looking at Casco as a potential location.

“In order to have a commercial business on Route 302 or Route 11, the property needs to have 300 feet of frontage and a 1,600-square-foot parking lot. That needs to be changed immediately,” Grant said.

“No wonder there haven’t been many new businesses setting up shop in Casco,” he said. “The current ordinance is far too restrictive,” Grant continued.

The Casco Board of Selectmen agreed that a modification to the ordinance was in order. The board decided it would be best to have the proposed alterations to the ordinance on paper in time for Town Meeting in June.

Casco residents are required to approve any amendments to any ordinance, and that action takes place at Town Meeting.

The board requested that Town Manager Dave Morton forward the proposed changes to Town Planner Jim Seymour.

For now, the commercial zone requirements would be changed from 300 feet of frontage to 250 feet. The parking lot size requirements would be scaled down to 60 square feet.

As it stands, the commercial zone ordinance for the Village District has a 150-foot frontage, and a 60-square-foot parking area.

According to Morton, the most recent Comprehensive Plan called for smaller lot sizes for local businesses. However, voters rejected putting that concept into an ordinance.

While reading through the current document that outlines rules for the commercial zones, Selectman Grant Plummer said, “there is a lot of language in this.”

Most likely, a complete overhaul of the commercial district ordinance would require more time, making it difficult to have new language prepared in time for Town Meeting.

Grant said making a few obvious changes for commercial property located on Casco’s main roads like Roosevelt Trail and Route 11 “will be a big step” in the right direction.

Hopefully, entrepreneurs who are toying with the idea of starting a business will find the changes to their liking.

 

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