People’s Development Choice Day set for Aug. 25

By Gail Geraghty
Staff Writer

CHOOSE YOUR STREET TYPE — Greg Watkins, left, holds up an artist’s rendering of a “Traditional Center” street-frontage type for fellow members of the Bridgton Comprehensive Plan Committee, who have been working for months to develop design standards for the Portland Road commercial corridor. The committee is encouraging the public to weigh in on desired street types at a special “People’s Development Choice Day” Thursday, Aug. 25 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the lower meeting hall of the Bridgton Municipal Complex.

Any Bridgton resident, year-round or summer, who wants to have their say about what Portland Road should look like in the future is encouraged to attend next week’s design charette, which is being called the “People’s Development Choice Day.”

The public design session, set for Thursday, Aug. 25 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., is the second such charette held since the Comprehensive Plan Committee was charged by Bridgton selectmen with developing new standards for the busy commercial corridor. The meeting will take place in the lower meeting hall of the Bridgton Municipal Complex.

“This one is the critical session,” said Alan Manoian, director of Bridgton’s Office of Economic and Community Development. “We’re at a point now with the development standards where the people have to choose what street types they want.”

The choice for street types — between a traditional New England form or a standardized “Any Place USA” form — is up to the public, and the committee needs to have the public weigh in for their work to have legal legitimacy, Manoian stressed. The committee has formally endorsed working with a form-based code formulation, which uses the concept of “street types” to define development patterns in a town.

The committee has tentatively assigned the stretch from Pondicherry Square to Smith Avenue as a “Traditional New England” street type, where taller buildings, closer to the road with parking in back, are preferred. Further along, toward Hannaford supermarket, the highway is considered more of a “Traditional Flex” street type as proposed. Also, the area near Sandy Creek is being eyed as a “Traditional Square.”

Such street-type naming fosters the development of a traditional New England form, but Manoian said that may not be what the people want. Residents may be content to have certain stretches of the corridor “develop in a standardized, fast-paced ‘Any Place’ USA form,” he said.

“They have to choose,” said Manoian.

People will be up on their feet and moving around during the Aug. 25 session, which Manoian describes as “an enjoyable and high-energy visual process.” Participants will move along the four design stations of the four different street types and interact with members of the Comprehensive Plan Committee at each station. That way, he said, the public will be able to provide immediate feedback and design ideas for each of the street types, enabling them to see how the entire corridor, all the way to the Naples line, will work together, “as either a traditional New England development form, or a standardized “Any Place” USA development form, or something in between,” he said.

“Join together and let your choice be known,” he said.

For more information on the charette, call Manoian at 647-8787 or 595-5180.

Please follow and like us: