Category Archives: Regulars

Comprehensive Plan Update Committee starts written plan review

| by Anne Maurice |

Scott Hastings, Town Planner, began the committee’s July meeting with an introduction of the first drafted chapter of the Comprehensive Plan which covers population and housing.  The population data shows a steady progression of growth over the last decade.  Hastings stated that New Gloucester does have available land to meet the population projections.  However, New Gloucester has a lot of land in conservation programs and the potential available land for housing is not necessarily of the same high quality as in the past.

The discussion moved towards housing and Hastings reported that in 2015, the Town had 263 vacant housing stock with about half being seasonal.  Ben Tettlebaum, committee member, asked about short-term rentals and Airbnb.  There are no official records on Airbnb activity in town.  Members want to include some data and projections in the Plan. 

Hastings mentioned that state guidelines for Comprehensive Plans require the inclusion of affordable housing needs.  The Committee discussed how to maintain the town’s rural character while including areas for affordable housing and increased density.

Tettlebaum and Julie Fralich, committee member, both want to include sustainable energy and building solutions in the Plan.  Larger housing stock conversion to multiple-family housing was brought up as a solution for more housing and a means to repurpose large dwellings in light of smaller family sizes.  Fire/Rescue Chief Toby Martin cautioned about converting large, older type dwellings which will  need sprinkler systems and possibly other safety considerations.

Once again the conversation turned to senior housing.  What level of housing is needed?  Do we need assisted living facilities?  How many services will be needed by seniors?  All these questions will need to be discussed at a future meeting.

Hastings will now take the Committee’s comments and suggestions, revise the chapter and resend it to the Committee for further review.  The next meeting is scheduled for August  8 at the New Gloucester Meeting House when the Committee will review another draft chapter, possibly on transportation or agriculture.  For more information and to sign up for ongoing email updates on the comprehensive plan work contact the Town Planner, Scott Hastings at shastings@newgloucester.com or (207)926-4126 ext 4.

Video of full July 11 meeting is available here. Materials and videos for this and other meetings can be found on the NG website: newgloucester.com.

Reading of the Declaration of Independence

Debra Smith

The annual reading of the Declaration of Independence was held at the History Barn on the morning of July 4th. Lenny Brooks welcomed the audience, reading from a 1776 letter from Henry Aline, Jr., a Boston notary and clerk, describing the publication and public reading of the Declaration from the balcony of the Boston Town House, and the removal and burning of the King’s Arms from the courthouse and other places.

The Declaration was read by three readers: Steve Rogers, Amy Fryda and Rev. Linda Gard. Lenny led three cheers at the end.

Amy Fryda reads the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th everyone!

Survey Results Reviewed by Comprehensive Plan Update Committee

Anne Maurice

Scott Hastings, Town Planner, presented the results from the spring 2019 survey to the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee at the June 13th meeting.  The summarized results can be found here:  Spring 2019 survey results

175 surveys were completed and most age groups were represented.  Committee member Ben Tettlebaum asked, “How much stock do we put in to the survey when we only had a 3% return rate.”  Scott mentioned the 20 – 30 year old residents were missing, but there probably are not many living in town.  24 surveys were completed by local business owners.  76 completed by people raising children.  As for where people lived, the results were distributed well.

As with the fall 2018 survey, townspeople want to preserve the rural character of New Gloucester.  They want to protect views and scenic areas and they value recreation land.  As chair Don Libby pointed out, when looking at the survey results in the aggregate, residents want to keep taxes low as well as protect open spaces.

Most residents were satisfied with town services and there were several positive comments for the town staff.  Trash pickup and single sort recycling were mentioned the most as “wanted” services. 

The survey had middle of the road results with regard to senior living and services.  This is an area that the committee will explore more with a future meeting specific to the topic of ‘age friendly communities’.  The State recently passed legislation that required the subject be included in comprehensive plans. 

More people would like to see train service than bus service.  Many expressed concerns about walking and biking on town roads because of safety.  Speeding cars and lack of shoulders on the roads were cited.  The Fairgrounds and Pineland were mentioned often as places to walk.

As to the types of businesses people want to see, there was a clear consensus that large businesses are not the answer.  Small to medium size businesses are welcome and there is a particular interest in restaurants and coffee shops.  People, including the high schoolers, are looking for a place to gather and ‘hang out’.

Scott will now begin drafting the plan starting with demographics and housing.  The Committee will hold community outreach meetings at some point in the future.  When the Comprehensive Plan is complete, it will be presented at a Town Meeting for a vote.

The next meeting is scheduled for July 11 at the New Gloucester Meeting House when the Committee will start reviewing the draft plan.  For more information and to sign up for ongoing email updates on the comprehensive plan work contact the Town Planner, Scott Hastings at shastings@newgloucester.com or (207)926-4126 ext 4.

Video of the full June 13 meeting is available here.  Materials and videos for this and other meetings can be found on the NG website: newgloucester.com.

Legislative Update from Senator Ned Claxton

After an all-night, marathon session that started last Wednesday morning and wrapped up early Thursday morning, the Maine Legislature has adjourned. It’s likely we’ll come back for a few days later this summer to tie up some loose ends, but the big things have been taken care of: Bills have been either voted on or held over until the next session for additional work, and the biennial budget has been passed and signed into law. I’m incredibly proud of all the work we’ve done. 
Now, I’m looking forward to spending more time at home and out in the community. Read on to see what we accomplished in the closing days of the First Regular Legislative Session. 

After blaze in New Gloucester, chief sounds alarm about shortage of firefighters

When a fire in a New Gloucester mobile home was reported in the middle of the night, it took three towns to muster enough firefighters to fight the blaze.

Poland Fire Chief Tom Printup, the first to arrive on scene because he lives nearby, said 12 firefighters responded to the fire on Quarry Road just after 2 a.m. Thursday. With the abandoned mobile home fully involved and already collapsing, firefighters could handle the call because they did not need to enter the building or rescue anyone. Keep reading Gillian Graham’s article in the Portland Press Herald.

New Gloucester deputy fire chief to be named in August — Sun Journal

By Ellie Fellers – Special to the Sun Journal June 25

Public Safety Department Chief Toby Martin said Tuesday that applications from within the department for the deputy chief’s position will be accepted until July 12 and a finalist named Aug. 8.

About five members are qualified to serve, he said.

Voters at the annual town meeting May 7 approved funding the department, formerly the New Gloucester Fire and Rescue Department, and combining the departments’ budgets.

However, the New Gloucester Public Safety Department Ordinance that outlined the governance of the reorganized department failed to pass June 19 on a 17-17 vote. Keep reading Ellie Fellers’s article in the Sun Journal.

New Gloucester mobile home destroyed by fire — Press Herald

By Gillian Graham – Staff Writer, Press Herald

A mobile home on Quarry Road in New Gloucester was destroyed in an early morning fire.

A passerby spotted the blaze at 342 Quarry Road and reported it to authorities at 2:13 a.m. Thursday. When firefighters arrived on scene minutes later, the home was engulfed in flames, said New Gloucester Fire Chief Toby Martin.

“It seems it had been burning quite a bit before it was reported,” he said. “It was 100 percent involved and collapsed as the first person arrived on scene.”

The mobile home is believed to be abandoned, though power was still on in the home. Martin said firefighters had to wait for Central Maine Power to cut electricity to the building because power lines were on the ground. Read the full article in the Press Herald.

Pine Pollen on the Ponds!


Living on a lake shore is living on “the edge” between the forest and the lake ecosystems.

The sharp contrasts while observing from “the edge” amplifies our perceptions of the seasonal changes in nature.

This time each year New Gloucester’s Sabbathday Lake (a “Maine great pond) gets nature’s pollen treatment. 

The north sure of Sabbathday Lake on June 19th
Photo: Tom Driscoll
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Planning Board Approves Dock on Sabbathday Lake

The Planning Board on Tuesday approved a 70- by 36-foot dock for the Sabbathday Shores subdivision.

Chairman Donald Libby, Vice Chairman Erik Hargreaves, Charles Burnham and Doug McAtee voted in favor of the dock, while Ben Tettlebaum abstained.

The dock had sparked outcry from some neighbors and lakeside residents, who complained it would be too long and too wide. Keep reading Ellie Fellers’ report in the Sun Journal.

Why Did so Many Helicoptors Land in New Gloucester Recently?

Photo: Tom Driscoll

You may have noticed a superabundance of “helicopters” that landed around your house in the last week or so.  These are most likely winged seeds from red maple trees and they are all over your driveway, your lawn, and in your rain gutters.  Polynose is another slang name, and “samara” is the official term.

As a helicopter pilot, I have always been fascinated by the maple samaras.

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