Comprehensive Plan Update Committee Discusses Services, Fiscal Capacity, and Next Steps

At the March 28 meeting of the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee, the topic of town services and fiscal capacity was reviewed.  Scott Hastings, Town Planner, introduced the topic and explained how the Comprehensive Plan helps direct growth and development in New Gloucester by determining where utilities and other infrastructure services are located.  He provided background materials for committee members.

The committee started by discussing the availability of 3-phase power, needed for some industrial equipment.  Using an overlay power map, power was identified at Pineland, along Intervale Road, on the North Pownal Road, and near the Town of Poland border.  Discussion centered around possible future needs for 3-phase power.  Committee chair Don Libby commented, “Route 100 is business-friendly, but not necessarily power-friendly.”  Committee member Steve Chandler mentioned that CMP seems to be planning for a substation near Sabbathday Road.

The next topic was the water district in the Upper Village.  The Committee questioned how much public water expansion for domestic and commercial purposes would be possible without a water tower.  Don Libby mentioned a possible need for sewage treatment capacity if the water district were expanded.

The meeting discussion then turned to broadband capacity.  New Gloucester currently has the lowest level of broadband throughout the town.  Committee member Ben Tettlebaum commented that currently his service is adequate but technology could take a leap that leaves New Gloucester behind.  He agreed with Scott Hastings that wireless technology would probably a better option in the future. 

Committee member Debra Smith introduced the idea of remote workers who work from home and need strong broadband.   An ensuing discussion touched on attracting remote workers and what they do or do not add to the community.

There was also discussion about police services.  The committee asked Scott to provide data on crime rates as well as a comparison of mil rates and evaluations for the surrounding towns.   

Committee chair Don Libby asked, “What does the Town want to be?  We need to be careful what the Comprehensive Plan encourages or discourages for growth.”  He made the point that the committee needs to consider what the community wants and what residents want to fund.

The committee is finishing up the review phase of the Comprehensive Plan process.  They have discussed all the topic areas as prescribed by state statute.  The final conversation concerned public outreach activities planned for late April.  Town Planner Hastings will be meeting with New Gloucester high school students on April 26.  The Committee is planning another online survey and some workshops. 

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday April 11 at the Meeting House.  Public outreach will be on the agenda. 

Town Planner Scott Hastings welcomes comments from residents and can be reached at shastings@newgloucester.com or 207-926-4126.  

Video of the full March 28 meeting is available here.  Materials and videos for this and other meetings can be found on the NG website: newgloucester.com.

-Reported by Anne Maurice; edited by NGX

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