Category Archives: Comprehensive Plan Update

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.

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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.

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.

Comprehensive Plan Survey Still Open; Comp Plan Update Committee Cheers for Jean Libby, Discusses Town Infrastructure, Staffing

This is the last call to complete the survey for the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee.  At the committee’s May 23 meeting, Scott Hastings, Town Planner, told the committee that they had 160 responses so far.  Please take the time to fill out the survey here. Hastings has also had input from New Gloucester high school students from a listening event he led with 134 participants.  The committee also held an open house on May 9 at the Meetinghouse and gathered input from a few residents who dropped by.  Hastings will report the survey results to the committee at their June 13 meeting. 

At the May 23 meeting, Scott presented Jean Libby, committee member, with a plaque and certificate from the Maine Association of Planners.  Libby was selected as the “Citizen Planner of the Year for the State of Maine.”  Hastings proudly commented to Jean: “Several citizens submitted a very strong application for you, along with several support letters.”  Jean was visibly taken back by the award and was very humble in saying, “I’m just a cog in the wheel.”  Her fellow committee members celebrated her recognition and heartily congratulated her. 

The meeting got underway with a review discussion of the town’s utility infrastructure since several committee members were away when the topic was addressed at a previous meeting.  Discussion centered on broadband availability.  Committee member Terry DeWan asked, “How does internet and broadband fit into the Comprehensive Plan?”  Hastings explained that it helps with planning business zones and supports business growth with in-home businesses.

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Comprehensive Plan Survey and Open House

Just a quick reminder that the Comprehensive Plan Committee needs your input.Click here to take our survey online!  It should only take a few minutes and the more people that fill it out the better our plan will be.  If you prefer a paper version of the survey they are available at town hall. If you have already taken it please spread the word!

We are also having an open house this week where you can come in and talk with us about the work we’ve been doing. Come by the meetinghouse anytime tomorrow (Thursday, 8:30am to 8pm) or Friday during town hall’s normal work hours (8:30am-2pm).

Thursday night from 6pm to 8pm members of the update committee will be there.  Come by to meet them, talk about your concerns, and eat pizza!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments, or other input you have to give.  


Thank you!
Scott

Scott Hastings, Town Planner
Town of New Gloucester
385 Intervale Road
New Gloucester, ME  04260
207-926-4126, Ext. 4
shastings@newgloucester.com

Comprehensive Plan Update Committee Looking for YOUR Input

Calling all NG Residents – Now it’s your turn to give input to the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee.  After more than a year of research, meetings, and discussion, the committee is moving to the second, outreach phase of their work.  They used an on-line survey in fall 2018.  Scott Hastings, Town Planner, describes the 2019 process as a two-element outreach effort:

  1. A survey will be available online and in hard copy from April 22 through May 10.  Informational mailers will be sent to all residents by April 27.   The online survey can be accessed here.
  2. In-person interactive input with Hastings and Committee members:
    • May 1 with students at GNG High School. 
    • May 6 at Town Meeting, Memorial School Gym
    • May 7 through 10, Hastings will be available at the Meetinghouse to discuss the Plan.  The evening of May 9, some committee members will join him for an informal open house where you can find out more about the Comprehensive Plan.   

Check the NG town website and the informational mailer for more details. 

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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.

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New Gloucester Comprehensive Plan Update Committee on Track, Seeks Community Input

New Gloucester resident Anne Maurice recently sat down with Town Planner Scott Hastings to discuss the town’s ongoing Comprehensive Plan Update, why it matters, and how citizens can get involved.  Here’s Anne’s report. – eds.

Back in January of 2018, the New Gloucester (NG) Plan Update Committee was seated.  Since then, they have been working through the Comprehensive Plan process with the guidance of Scott Hastings, NG Town Planner.  Maine first enacted a requirement for comprehensive planning as the basis for zoning in 1943.  In 1988, Maine adopted the Comprehensive Planning and Land Use Act, building on long-established law.  The NG Comprehensive Plan was last updated in 1990; you can find it here on the Town’s website.  The town has undergone dramatic changes since then.

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Comprehensive Plan Committee Update

The Comprehensive Plan Committee will be meeting this Thursday on March 14th at 6:30pm to look at transportation!

To see the agenda, maps, and other materials that the committee will be reviewing go to the committee’s page on the town website.
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Comprehensive Plan Committee update from Scott Hastings, Town Planner

The Comprehensive Plan Committee will be meeting on February 7th at 6:30pm to look at Recreation!

To see the agenda, maps, and other materials that the committee will be reviewing go to the committee’s page on the town website.

If you have any comments, suggestions or other input about recreation in New Gloucester click here to let us know! or if you would prefer, reach out to me at town hall or via the phone number below.

We will be meeting twice in February. On 28th we will talk about economic development.  The Economic Development Committee will also be holding a second forum on Agriculture on March 4th. Keep an eye on these emails or reach out to me for more information! 

If you are interested in the committee’s meetings they are open to the public, broadcast on the local TV channel, and videos are archived on the town website.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments, or other input you have to give.

Thank you!
Scott

Scott Hastings, Town Planner
Town of New Gloucester
385 Intervale Road
New Gloucester, ME  04260
207-926-4126, Ext. 4
shastings@newgloucester.com