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Council receives, sets 4-month review schedule for draft comprehensive plan update

The Town Council on Feb. 11, 2019 received a draft update of the town's comprehensive plan, and scheduled a four-month timeline beginning in May for review, public input and adoption.

State law requires municipalities to have a comprehensive plan to guide development. The draft is update to the current 2007 plan, and is the product of a two-year process that included public forums, a public survey and 27 meetings of a nine-member, Comprehensive Plan 2019 Committee.

"I think you'll find this document will help you put together what we need to do for the next 10 years," committee Chair Tim Thompson said as he presented the draft for review.

A hallmark of the plan, said Thompson, is the amount public participation. "We made a major effort to get involvement from the town, from the community," he said. "We decided as a group we wanted to have a lot of input, we started at the Strawberry Festival in the summer (of 2017) ... and that got us going," he said.

A professional survey and online discussion forum was conducted, and the Town Hall meetings and forums were attended by a cross-section of townspeople, some interested in specific chapters and others who attended every meeting. Students from the High School government class also participated, and the chapters on marine and water resources were written almost entirely by an citizen committee that was charged separately to update the town's harbor ordinance. The council, the School Board and the Planning Board were also represented on the Comprehensive Plan 2019 Committee.

Town councilors thanked Thompson for the committee's effort. "This is an extremely important thing that we undertake and ... it's a tremendous amount of work that you all took on," said Council Chair Jamie Garvin. "We're very very grateful for all the countless hours you put in and, really, the quality of the work you produce.

"We look forward to working with you as we go through the process that you mention, the workshops we'll have upcoming and ultimately towards approval of the final product," Garvin said. Review, adoption and beginning implementation of the plan is on the council's list of goals for 2019.

Review of the draft comprehensive plan will begin in May, following the council's work on the town's 2019-2020 budget.

Here is the schedule:

Wednesday, May 8th
Town  Council workshop (Comprehensive Plan Committee invited to attend): Review  plan  pgs. 6-194 covering Public Participation Summary, Population and Demographics, Economy, Transportation, Housing, Public Facilities and Services, Fiscal Capacity and Capital Investment Plan, Natural Resources, Agricultural and Forest Resources, Marine  Resources, Water Resources, Historic  and  Archeological Resources.
Monday, May 13th
Town Council  meeting: Town  Council schedules comprehensive plan public  hearing for June 10, 2019.
Wednesday, May 15th
Town Council  workshop (Comprehensive Plan Committee invited to attend): Review  plan  pgs. 195-287,4-5 covering Existing Land Use, Recreation and  Open Space, Future  Land Use Plan, Regional Coordination Plan, Implementation and Evaluation of Recommendations, Appendices 1and 2, Vision Statement, Executive Summary
Wednesday, May 22nd
Town Council  workshop: Town  Council  discussion of entire plan/ finalize  revisions.
Wednesday, May 29th
Town Council  revised  comprehensive plan posted  to town website
Monday, June 10th
Town  Council  meeting: Public Hearing
Monday, July 8th
Town  Council  meeting: Consider vote for adoption
Wednesday, September 4th
Town  Council  workshop: Review  implementation plan