Bring on the nine & begin visioning

By Gail Geraghty
Staff Writer

They come from all walks of life: an artist, a barber, contractor, lawyer, educator, landscaper, small business owner and manager. One build houses; another sells them. Several have advanced degrees and have devoted many years to community service. Others have little experience in town government and a high school education.

Some voted yes to ban big box stores and fast food restaurants in Bridgton; others voted no.

What they all have in common, these residents who’ve applied to be on the Comprehensive Plan Committee, is that they care about Bridgton, and are willing to devote the next year of their lives to chart its future.

Twelve applications had been received at the Office of Economic and Community Development as of Tuesday, and more were expected by today’s deadline at 3 p.m. Nine slots are open on the panel, which will be co-chaired by representatives on both sides of the March 1 vote — Ray Turner, representing the no vote, and Scott Finlayson, representing the yes vote.

The 11-member committee will be named by selectmen at their next meeting on Tuesday, April 5. Those who’ve applied are George Erikson, 26 Church Street, a sculptor/artist; Richard Davis, 17 Elm Street, an electrician, construction supervisor, plumbing inspector and voc tech instructor; Barry DeNofrio, 270 Wildwood Road, retired educator and real estate broker; Lucia Terry, 115 Pond Road, a landscaper and owner of Perennial Point of View; Robert Murphy, 25 Side City Road, general contractor; Glen “Bear” Zaidman, general manager of Wildwood Camp on Woods Pond; Peter Morrison, P.O. Box 553, store manager with a law enforcement background; Chuck Renneker, 380 Hio Ridge Road, retired CPA, Naval officer and real estate developer; Annika Black, 20 Meadow Street, Bridgton Library Youth Services Librarian; Anne-Marie Amiel, 10 Mechanic Street, small business owner and attorney; Fred Packard, 566 Portland Road, business owner; and Adam Grant, 565 South Bridgton Road, barber.

At their last meeting, selectmen agreed to require anyone wishing to serve on the committee to step down from any other appointed post they hold in town. That condition would affect Packard, a Planning Board member; Turner and Renneker, members of the Economic Development Committee; and Zaidman, member of the Woods Pond Water Quality Committee.

Manoian said he is going over the applications and will recommend to selectmen who should be chosen to serve. The town wants the committee to reflect a broad range of interests and areas of expertise, as well as different geographic locations in town. The committee’s first task will be to come up with an ordinance governing growth along the Portland Road commercial corridor. Both Packard and Murphy live along the corridor, whose exact boundaries have yet to be determined.

The committee will gather for an organizational meeting over the next two weeks. Then, on Saturday, April 16, from 10 a.m. to noon, the entire community of what Manoian calls “citizen-planners” are invited to attend a Portland Road District Public Visioning Session, which will be held at the Bridgton Municipal Center, in the lower meeting hall with access on Iredale Street. An optional District Walking Tour of the Portland Road commercial corridor will follow from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

At the visioning session, the public will be provided with a complete visual tour of the entire Portland Road commercial corridor by Manoian.

“Together we will view, analyze, vision and comment, comment, comment on the Portland Corridor in terms of the overall street composition, functionality and development pattern, as well as taking a closer or ‘fine-grained’ look at various building sites and parcels,” Manoian said in a press release.

“The natural assets of both Willett Brook and Mt. Henry will be highlighted, and considered in terms of development constraints and opportunities” of the district, he said.

Manoian encourages lots of comment and discussion of architecture, signage, infrastructure, mobility, accessibility, sidewalks, landscape design, branding and other development features at the session, which will be attended by Stephanie Carver of the Greater Portland Council of Governments and an official from the Maine Department of Transportation.

Anyone with questions about the applications or planning process may contact Manoian at 647-8786 or e-mail him at ecodevdir@bridgtonmaine.org. Manoian may also be contacted through his Facebook page.

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