Comp Plan update has voters’ blessing

By Gail Geraghty
Staff Writer
After three long years in the making, the Bridgton Comprehensive Plan was overwhelmingly approved by voters Tuesday, by a vote of 1,584 yes, 639 no.
The question is, what’s next?
The document won’t become official until the state gives its stamp of approval, which hopefully will take place within a few months. In the meantime, the Board of Selectmen will be setting up the all-important Implementation Committee, whose members will see to it that the document is a living one, and does not simply get put on a shelf.
Comprehensive Plan Committee members have spent a lot of their time making sure that doesn’t happen, by creating a spreadsheet that not only recommends which board, committee or organization should be tackling a particular goal, but also giving a deadline for its completion.
On Tuesday, Planning Board Chairman Steve Collins suggested that his board hold a meeting with both Selectmen and the CPC to decide who will be in charge of making sure different goals get implemented. But CPC member Glen “Bear” Zaidman reminded him that the selectmen are in charge of that process.
Collins replied, “I know, but it can’t be said often enough” that there should be no gap between approval of the plan and commencement of the work toward implementing it.
From the beginning of the process, one of the most talked about aspects of the plan has been the creation of land use regulations. The 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.
Selectmen have yet to decide whether the CPC will be disbanded now that the plan is official locally. Some of its members have expressed the desire to return to a consideration of form-based code, or design guidelines for the town’s gateway corridors and the downtown.

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