Scarborough Town, Cumberland County, Maine

The Town of Scarborough, population 18,989 (2006), lies in Cumberland County seven miles southwest of Portland, Maine. The Town has two exits on the Maine Turnpike (I-95), passenger rail service to Boston and easy access to the Portland Airport. It also features magnificent coastal areas including Prout’s Neck, a rocky peninsula that served as the home, studio and frequent subject of painter Winslow Homer. The town is also home to the 3,000-acre Scarborough Marsh. The Town uses TDR to preserve farms, forests and open space within the Dunstan area, the portion of the Town surrounding Dunstan Village.

The Dunstan area is bounded by the Saco Town Line, the Maine Turnpike, the Dunstan River, Scarborough Marsh and Foxwell Brook. Undeveloped land in the Dunstan area zoned RF (Rural Residential and Farming) and used for agriculture, forestry or open space qualifies as a sending site. One credit is allowed for each two acres of land that meets all the requirements of the subdivision code. An applicant must submit a sketch plan demonstrating the number of lots that the proposed sending site could legally accommodate. To create transferable credits, a conservation easement must permanently preclude all future development on the sending site except agricultural, forestry and recreational uses.

Each credit allows one additional unit in the receiving area, the DVR (Dunstan Village Residential) District not to exceed 10 percent of the maximum density that would normally apply.  Without the TDR bonus, maximum density for single-family residential development is one unit per two acres for lots without sewer and two units per acre for land served by sewers.

In lieu of TDRs, developers can make a cash payment to be used exclusively by the Town for the purchase of land or conservation easements. In 2005, this density transfer charge (DTC) was $17,000 per bonus dwelling unit. Every year, the DTC is adjusted for inflation using the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index.  The DTC must be paid at the time of posting of the performance guarantee for final subdivision approval. However, for a multi-phase project, 50 percent of the DTC can be paid at the posting of the performance guarantee for Phase I and 50 percent at the posting of the performance guarantee for any subsequent phase or upon the issuance of any building permit in a subsequent phase.