Piper Shores Space and Land Planning Update

In the spring of 2014 the Piper Shores board of directors approved a 5-year strategic plan designed to chart the community’s future course. As part of that plan, Piper Shores decided to augment its current continuum of care (lifecare) to include a dedicated Memory Care unit that would be added to Holbrook as well as a new Arts Center for independent living residents. During preliminary discussions with the Town of Scarborough about a contract zoning amendment to permit the Memory Care, Assisted Living and Arts Center construction, Piper Shores was encouraged to look at its longer term needs as well as shorter term needs for potential development on the 138-acre property.

Considering its long-term needs as part of a strategic visioning process, Piper Shores worked with SFCS Architects to address both memory care needs as well as the potential to add new independent living options on the property. By way of context, demand for Piper Shores’ independent living apartments and cottages has been exceptionally strong. Presently, there are over 90 future residents committed to Piper Shores’ waiting list. So, with the invitation by the Scarborough Planning Board to think longer term, Piper Shores envisioned how the current campus might include more independent living residences.

The Piper Shores campus is located on 138-acres on Scarborough’s beautiful coastline, and the current campus development occupies only 40 acres. The balance of those acres, however, comes with restrictions. When Piper Shores was first developed in 2001, the undeveloped portion of Piper Shores’ 138-acres was placed in land conservation by deed restriction. The Piper Shores internal planning committee understood these restrictions were in place and that they might limit future development on the property. While most of the undeveloped portion of Piper Shores is classified as wetlands, 15-acres of the property is not wetland and holds the potential for development, were it not for the conservation restrictions.

In bringing an expanded proposal to include both Memory Care and additional Assisted Living to Holbrook as well as a proposal to develop 15-acres for independent living, Piper Shores proposed to replace deed restricted acres by purchasing another piece of property in Scarborough that was more in line with the town’s long-term conservation needs. Piper Shores knew that the proposal would be controversial, but approached it with the spirit of creating a win-win for the town and for Piper Shores.

As expected, the Scarborough Planning Board supported the planned Memory Care addition to Holbrook, but they were less receptive to plans to develop new independent living residences on the property. Newspaper reports in the Scarborough LeaderThe Forecaster and the Bangor Daily News have all recounted the “chilly” reception Piper Shores received for its plans to add independent living on its current footprint. What they did not carry in their news stories was the context behind the proposal and the spirit in which it was presented to the Town of Scarborough.

On Thursday, December 17, the Scarborough Town Council granted unanimous preliminary approval to an application from Piper Shores requesting an amendment to its contract zone. The preliminary approval paves the way for an approximately 38,000-square -foot addition to Holbrook for28 additional accommodations of Assistant Living, including 12 solely for dementia care, as well as a 3,000 square foot Art Center near the entrance to Piper Shores. The arts building would give Piper Shores a dedicated space to offer arts and crafts and a space for the many artists who reside on the property to call their own.

For more information, please see “Piper Shores Announces Expansion Plan” in the Scarborough Leader.