Category Archives: Regulars

Rep. Amy Arata’s newsletter

In Rep. Arata’s latest newsletter, read a rundown of new laws that recently took effect. These include new rules on child car seats, penalties for furnishing tobacco products to minors, restrictions on diesel vehicle emissions, and more.

New Gloucester revaluation reaches nearly half of properties

| by Ellie Fellers, Sun Journal |

NEW GLOUCESTER — Assessing agent Michael O’Donnell told selectmen Monday night agents have visited 1,200 of the more than 3,000 properties being revaluated across the town.

The representative of John O’Donnell & Associates of New Gloucester, which was hired for $220,000 for the job, said he hopes to reach 2,500 “before the snow flies.”

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Legislative Update from Senator Ned Claxton – early October

| by Senator Ned Claxton |

Friday, Sept. 27 was the deadline for legislators to submit new bills for the next session that begins in January. I’m excited to begin learning about some new proposals that will come before us in the Senate once we reconvene, and to see everyone’s ideas for how we will continue to improve the lives of Mainers across our state. Keep reading

Senator Ned Claxton’s early September newsletter

In this newsletter, read about remembering 9/11, touring Bath Iron Works and meeting with family practice residents in Augusta. Also see Senator Claxton’s column in the Twin City Times about his mixed feelings on the results of the legislature’s recent special session. Continue reading

Select board briefed on solar installation

[Ellie Fellers, Special to the Sun Journal]

Nick Sampson, spokesman for Revision Energy of South Portland, updated selectmen Monday night on installing rooftop solar energy panels on the fire station, public works garage, transfer station and Town Hall.

The commercial solar consultant said his company was started in 2003 and employs over 250 people in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The company has installed 8,000 systems. Continue reading

Planning Board approves new plans on Gloucester Hill Road and an expansion on Intervale Road

| Joanne Cole, NGX |

Applications for a new single-family home on the east side of Gloucester Hill Road just below the Opportunity Farm barn, a two-lot subdivision and home on the west side of Gloucester Hill Road, and expanded facilities at Cunningham Farm on Intervale Road were the focus of Planning Board meetings in late August and early September.  All three projects were ultimately approved with conditions.

Of greatest public interest was Warren Gerow’s application for a single-family home in the Opportunity Farm field across from the Morrison Center.  Because the location is within the Historic District, more-stringent site and design requirements apply and the project must be reviewed by the Historical Society as well as the Planning Board.  Gerow was before the board seeking waivers of requirements for a close-contour site map, an erosion and sedimentation plan, and a stormwater runoff plan. 

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NG aims to have updated comprehensive plan ready for Town Meeting

| By Jane Vaughan – Lakes Region Weekly |

NEW GLOUCESTER — The Comprehensive Plan Update Committee is moving forward, working on a draft of the new plan that it hopes will be ready by next year’s annual Town Meeting.

“It might be a little ambitious,” said Town Planner Scott Hastings. “We hope to have a draft by the winter to bring out to the public.”

New Gloucester last updated its map for the future 29 years ago, in 1990, and the state recommends updating it every 10 years.

Continue reading

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.