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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.