The Gorham town planning board on Monday voted against the adoption of a proposed land use and development code that would prohibit the development of new off-campus Greek housing.
The town council still has to vote on the proposal.
The proposal came after years of complaints from Gorham residents about the behavior of fraternity members and USM students drawn to off-campus fraternity events.
The planning board heard from two opponents of the proposal at the hearing Monday. Daniel Santos, a sophomore and member of the Sigma Nu fraternity and the president of the Inter-Fraternity Council, said that a ban on new fraternity houses would exacerbate the noise problem in Gorham. Whereas fraternities are overseen by both the University and their national chapters, Santos argued that non-fraternity parties are more likely to get out of hand and create the type of disturbance that Gorham seeks to avoid. “Taking away the ability to establish new Greek houses will without a doubt amplify the problem,” Santos said.
Bruce Roullard, a resident of Gorham and a member of the board that manages the property that houses the Sigma Nu fraternity also spoke against the proposal.
“Eliminating fraternity or sorority housing will not eliminate noise in Gorham,” said Roullard.
Board members deliberated briefly before voting 6-0 with one abstention to recommend against the adoption of the proposal by the town council.
Proponents of the proposal did not speak at the hearing.
The town council will vote on the proposal at a later date.