New planning director eager to get rolling

By Lisa Williams Ackley

Staff Writer

WELCOMING ANNE KRIEG — (at left) aboard as the Town of Bridgton’s new director of Planning, Economic and Community Development are Code Enforcement Officer Rob Baker and Executive Assistant Georgiann Fleck. (Ackley Photo)

Anne Krieg is excited to be coming to Bridgton as the town’s new director of Planning, Economic and Community Development, with her first full week here beginning April 2.

Having helped create the Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Bar Harbor that won Plan of the Year from the Maine Association of Planners in 2007, Krieg is more than well-versed as to how to create and implement a workable municipal comprehensive plan.

Since last year, Bridgton’s Comprehensive Plan Committee has been hard at work updating the town’s 2004 Comprehensive Plan that was not implemented after it was completed nearly a decade ago.

Maine state law says a comprehensive plan must be formulated for each municipality, as the first step toward implementing zoning, and it must also be updated every few years. The statute also requires each town to have a committee for the purpose of formulating a comprehensive plan — which can be the local planning board itself, a committee comprised of some planning board members along with other community members, or a separate appointed committee altogether.

Krieg acknowledged the fact that differences can exist among committee members working together on their municipality’s comprehensive plan.

“When I did the Comprehensive Plan in Bar Harbor, I used the planning board as the required committee,” Krieg said, in an interview last week, “and I just funneled everything through them. When the planning board sent recommendations (for the comprehensive plan) to legal counsel, I put them in a room and let them duke it out — I think I would rather have them get emotional and figure it out and deliberate together.”

Asked what she plans to do, in her new role as director of Planning, Economic and Community Development here, Krieg replied, “Probably staying focused on the active projects, but also meeting with people so they can get to know me — that’s important. Obviously, projects in the hopper require a pragmatic approach, to get them moving along. I plan to analyze existing work and familiarize myself with existing projects.”

When announcing Krieg’s hiring, Bridgton Board of Selectmen Chairman Arthur Triglione Sr. said she has the “skills, experience and personality that will allow her to be successful” here.

Asked to comment on Selectman Triglione’s statement about her personality helping her to be successful here and what she believes sets her apart from others, Krieg said, “I think my personality does set me apart — you have to consider can you not only work with that person or feel comfortable with them when you are having a conflict of opinion.”

“I really see my role, as a professional, ethically bound to forward good planning practice,” Krieg stated. “But, once that staff draft (of the comprehensive plan or other projects) goes out, whether it is to the board of selectmen or planning board, they have to take that and do what they think is best for the town.”

A mediator at heart

Krieg served as planning director, not only in Bar Harbor, but also in two Massachusetts cities — Danvers and Reading — where she worked with various types of groups and organizations.

So, what does she consider her strengths?

“Just being able to weed through conflicting opinions to see where there’s common ground and then staying focused,” Krieg said. “I’m good at weeding!”

Krieg pointed out that sometimes when people don’t see eye to eye, they often have more in common than they think regarding the subject on which they disagree.

“I think when people are arguing with each other, sometimes they’re really saying the same thing,” Krieg said. “Sometimes it takes a third party to point out what the common ground is. I’m a good mediator and a good facilitator, and it’s what I like best about my job — the interaction with residents and business owners.”

Planning & economic development go hand in hand

“I think there should be a natural interface between planning and economic development,” Krieg said. “Planning is for growth, not just for regulation.”

However, looking at where a community came from is just as important as trying to figure out how best to step in to the future, said Krieg.

“Along with observations of how Bridgton is today — and what people want to see — I think it is important to also remember the history,” Krieg said. “I love to hear stories of things that happened years ago, because they do shape what the town is today ­— how did we get here and where do we go from here?”

Krieg and her husband, Rob, have three children and plan to move their entire family here from Bar Harbor, over the next year. The Krieg family enjoys biking and hiking together. Krieg was a member and president of The Bar Harbor-Mount Desert Island Rotary Club.

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