Cumberland voters to decide on public beach purchase | News

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Cumberland voters to decide on public beach purchase
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CUMBERLAND, Maine (NECN) -- Maine has more than 6,000 miles of shoreline, but access to that high priced real estate is increasingly limited.

Now
the town of
C
umberland has a chance to buy a piece of that gold coast,
if
voters decide it's worth it. Cumberland has almost four miles of coastline abutting Casco Bay. Right now, the public has access to only 100 feet of it, divided into two rocky 50 ft. parcels.

But that could soon change.

On election day, voters in this town of 7,200,will be asked if they want the town to borrow $3 million to buy a 23 acre parcel of land off the Foreside Road.

T
own
M
anager
B
ill
S
hane believes i
t's
a unique opportunity."It's a large piece of property, probably one of the largest left in town and we're looking at acquiring almost 2,200 ft. of ocean access," said Shane, pointing to a large map of the parcel tacked to his office wall.

The remainder of the P
ayson
p
roperty would
be
privately developed with seven high end ho
mes. But opponents with the Vote No Payson Bond campaign said voters should read the fine print on the limitations of buying this conservation land. "They're not going to be able to do much with the land. They can't have a boat launch, or a boat ramp, no bathroom, you can't bring your pets. You can't really swim, so no swimming, said Sarah Steinberg, the group's spokesperson

And buying that bond would impact property taxes.

On a $350,000 house, the average home price in Cumberland, property taxes would go up $
57 the first year
and
$
29
after that. It may not sound like much for ocean front property, but some voters wonder if that kind of money could and should be better spent elsewhere. "I''d like to see our school have a performing arts center. It's badly needed, so right now i'm opposed to it, said Robert Beagan, Cumberland resident.

I
f voters say no
on Nov. 4,
the land w
ill
likely be absorbed
back
into the private developmen
t, for use by residents only.

And the only
way to enjoy
it after that will be by boat, or from the opposing shoreline more than 4,000 ft. away.


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