Bridgton Comp Plan deemed ‘complete and consistent’

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

State approval this week of Bridgton’s Comprehensive Plan means that the work of the Land Use & Zoning Committee to draft a townwide zoning plan — begun several months ago — can now begin in earnest.

“We have now concluded our review and are very pleased to inform you that we find Bridgton’s 2014 Comprehensive Plan, as submitted, to be complete and consistent with the Growth Management Act,” Senior Planner Phil Carey of the state’s Municipal Planning Assistance Program wrote Tuesday in an e-mail to the town.

Carey works for the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, the lead agency in charge of reviewing and approving municipal comprehensive plans. “Thanks to the hard work of the Comprehensive Plan Committee, (Anne Krieg) Director of Planning, Economic & Community Development, other town staff and engaged citizens, this plan will provide important guidance to the town's decision-makers for years to come,” he said.

The e-mail comes just over a year after voters overwhelmingly approved the comprehensive plan, an update of the 2004 plan, by a vote of 1,584 yes, 639 no. Selectmen had hoped for a quicker approval, but Krieg told them that the state is currently backlogged with a large number of comprehensive plans needing review.

The effort to update the plan began in earnest after the town voted in March 2011 against banning big box stores and fast food restaurants along Portland Road. There was bitter division leading up to that vote, sparked by the impending opening of the McDonald’s restaurant on Portland Road. An 11-member Comprehensive Plan Update Committee was created by selectmen and charged with both short-term and long-term goals. The short-term goal was to update land use codes on Portland Road by the end of 2011, and the long-term goal was to update the Comprehensive Plan as a whole.

As it turned out, the short-term goal proved too ambitious to accomplish in such a short time frame. Committee members also believed it would be inadvisable to create regulations for only the Portland Road without at the same time addressing the other major gateway entrance corridors to the downtown.

The Future Land Use section of the approved plan recommends the creation of seven general zoning designations or districts that follow the town’s traditional growth patterns — downtown village business district, downtown village neighborhood, inner corridor, outer corridor, outer village neighborhood, lakeside neighborhood and rural neighborhood. The plan includes a map showing rural, transitional and growth areas and the development constraints to be applied to each.

The plan had to undergo review by a number of state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation, Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. In addition, the Greater Portland Council of Governments also had its say.

The individual reviews included several suggestions for amendments that Carey said the town could make to the plan without affecting the state approval. Highlights of these suggestions are as follows:

GPCOG — more detail on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and amenities, trends in modal use, and infrastructure conditions; participation in the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System; create specific strategies for working with regional partners such as the chamber, local environmental organizations and county soil and water district.

MDIFW — update the plan, which used 2012 data, to reflect the latest new mapped wildlife and habitat areas and vernal pools in town, using data in the online Beginning With Habitat toolbox; add recent occurrences of great blue herons and the comet darner in Bridgton; update stream road crossings; include smaller streams that support wild brook trout/salmon populations as significant fish and wildlife habitat.

DEP — reiterates the need as given by MDIFW to identify all streams in town; include Moose Pond on the DEP Nonpoint Source Priority Watersheds List, which was updated in 2014; add a defined strategy for controlling phosphorus runoff from individual lot development outside the Shoreland Zone; update information about the Maine Tree Growth current use taxation program as well as the Open Space and Farmland current use taxation programs; completely rewrite the section about rare plants in town, which contains inaccurate or outdated information.

The Land Use & Zoning Committee is expected to review the state’s findings at an upcoming meeting.

P1 g47 comp plan

 

Bridgton’s Comp Plan deemed ‘complete and consistent’     WAYNE LOOK AT FIRST SENTENCE

 

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

State approval this week of Bridgton’s Comprehensive Plan means that the work of the Land Use & Zoning Committee to draft a townwide zoning plan — begun several months ago — can now begin in earnest.

“We have now concluded our review and are very pleased to inform you that we find Bridgton’s 2014 Comprehensive Plan, as submitted, to be complete and consistent with the Growth Management Act,” Senior Planner Phil Carey of the state’s Municipal Planning Assistance Program wrote Tuesday in an e-mail to the town.

Carey works for the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, the lead agency in charge of reviewing and approving municipal comprehensive plans. “Thanks to the hard work of the Comprehensive Plan Committee, (Anne Krieg) Director of Planning, Economic & Community Development, other town staff and engaged citizens, this plan will provide important guidance to the town's decision-makers for years to come,” he said.

The e-mail comes just over a year after voters overwhelmingly approved the comprehensive plan, an update of the 2004 plan, by a vote of 1,584 yes, 639 no. Selectmen had hoped for a quicker approval, but Krieg told them that the state is currently backlogged with a large number of comprehensive plans needing review.

The effort to update the plan began in earnest after the town voted in March 2011 against banning big box stores and fast food restaurants along Portland Road. There was bitter division leading up to that vote, sparked by the impending opening of the McDonald’s restaurant on Portland Road. An 11-member Comprehensive Plan Update Committee was created by selectmen and charged with both short-term and long-term goals. The short-term goal was to update land use codes on Portland Road by the end of 2011, and the long-term goal was to update the Comprehensive Plan as a whole.

As it turned out, the short-term goal proved too ambitious to accomplish in such a short time frame. Committee members also believed it would be inadvisable to create regulations for only the Portland Road without at the same time addressing the other major gateway entrance corridors to the downtown.

The Future Land Use section of the approved plan recommends the creation of seven general zoning designations or districts that follow the town’s traditional growth patterns — downtown village business district, downtown village neighborhood, inner corridor, outer corridor, outer village neighborhood, lakeside neighborhood and rural neighborhood. The plan includes a map showing rural, transitional and growth areas and the development constraints to be applied to each.

The plan had to undergo review by a number of state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation, Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. In addition, the Greater Portland Council of Governments also had its say.

The individual reviews included several suggestions for amendments that Carey said the town could make to the plan without affecting the state approval. Highlights of these suggestions are as follows:

GPCOG — more detail on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and amenities, trends in modal use, and infrastructure conditions; participation in the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System; create specific strategies for working with regional partners such as the chamber, local environmental organizations and county soil and water district.

MDIFW — update the plan, which used 2012 data, to reflect the latest new mapped wildlife and habitat areas and vernal pools in town, using data in the online Beginning With Habitat toolbox; add recent occurrences of great blue herons and the comet darner in Bridgton; update stream road crossings; include smaller streams that support wild brook trout/salmon populations as significant fish and wildlife habitat.

DEP — reiterates the need as given by MDIFW to identify all streams in town; include Moose Pond on the DEP Nonpoint Source Priority Watersheds List, which was updated in 2014; add a defined strategy for controlling phosphorus runoff from individual lot development outside the Shoreland Zone; update information about the Maine Tree Growth current use taxation program as well as the Open Space and Farmland current use taxation programs; completely rewrite the section about rare plants in town, which contains inaccurate or outdated information.

The Land Use & Zoning Committee is expected to review the state’s findings at an upcoming meeting.

 

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