Planning Front: Odds and ends

Anne Krieg

Anne Krieg

By Anne Krieg, AICP

Director of Planning, Economic & Community Development

I will follow everyone else’s thoughts to remark about all the snow we are having! I am not sick of it quite yet, as I grew up in Syracuse, N.Y., and we would get snow in May during college finals! Snow is just a half-year sort of occurrence when you grow up in the snow belt. I do admit I get sick of winter in April, so I’m not there yet! I hope you are getting outside and enjoying the beauty of a clear day after a storm or even passively watching falling snow from your porch or perhaps in a cozy warm place looking out the window.

Please know Bridgton’s website is working, but it is frozen from the ability to update or add anything to it. We hope to have this fixed over the next week, but if you are looking for documents, please come in to see us in person to obtain what you need. We regret any inconvenience!

Congratulations are in order for the new Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Sue Mercer! I was honored to be part of the interviewing team for this important position. We are all here to help and support her, as there is plenty to be done! Sue comes from Danvers, Mass., where I worked in planning and development in the ’90s (a phrase that sounds odd, doesn’t it, in the ’90s). I have fond memories of my time serving the people of Danvers so it’s fun to reminisce with her!

The Bridgton Planning Board is working on ordinances. I am helping them with the sign ordinance, to clarify multi-tenant signs, and clean up the language. The next planning board meeting for their ordinance work is March 18, so if you are interested in what’s to come for changes, and you will be voting on this by ballot in June, then come to this meeting!

I taught a class on planning at the Senior College. It was a lot of fun preparing for this class and I was relieved that I remembered the history (but went online to verify) and was even more relieved that I remembered my court cases.  It was a long time ago that I took the certification exam in planning so this was a fun refresher! Students were engaged in the presentation and we spurred some great conversation about the 70s, the smart growth movement in Maryland, climate change and zoning issues. They want me back in the spring so if you missed it, I will be able to polish it a bit and redo it then, so come! The PowerPoint is on the website called SlideShare under my name if you want to look at it there; it’s also on the department Facebook page and my LinkedIn profile.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs will be and have been taking the lion’s share of my time and will continue to do so for a while. There are many active projects and more to come. For example, Rufus Porter Museum façade work is winding down on Phase I and will start Phase II soon. The Bridgton Community Center windows will be bid out soon and I have reporting and paperwork to do (so if you see me mumbling and hunched over a bit as I walk to get my lunch, you will know why!) The Oversight Committee for this program met and made its recommendations to the board of selectmen as to who should receive funds in 2014. I will release the recommended applications under a separate press release and the selectmen will have received the recommendations at their meeting this past Tuesday, Feb. 25. They will discuss the applications on March 11 and then render a decision at their March 25meeting (a public hearing as required).

Depot Street (a CDBG-funded project to redo the street and add design elements) is also in full swing. We had a well-attended meeting on the project in February. We are now assembling the comments, and the folks at the design/engineering firm of Milone and MacBroom will be drawing up a design plan to respond to our needs for the street.  I love this project so much as the ability to fix up a street is such a great message for economic development. Public investment into its property (that is, streets, or rights of ways, and parks) shows that the town is encouraging and participating in revitalization.

I am also on the Oversight Committee for CDBG projects countywide; starting next week, that review process will begin. I will also represent your interests at regional policy discussion at the Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG.)

The Comprehensive Plan Committee is continuing their work on the Land Use Plan.  This work is the basis for any future zoning ordinance the town may draft. They meet Mondays at 6 p.m. at the Bridgton Municipal Complex, so please consider coming to a meeting.  They will be having workshops in the spring; however the work of the plan is happening now!

Please stop me, visit me, call me, e-mail me, tweet me, Facebook me, LinkedIn with me to let me know your thoughts on anything in planning or development (or anything, really). We are here to help you make good decisions. This year, you will be asked to make decisions, from ordinances to the Comprehensive Plan. We want to make sure you have the answers to your questions so you can make an informed vote.

Happy rest of February to you, and let’s hope March is welcoming like an Emily Dickinson poem (from 1924 Part Two: Nature LXXXVII:

Dear March, come in!

How glad I am!

I looked for you before.

Put down your hat —

You must have walked —

How out of breath you are!

Anne Krieg can be reached at 647-8786 or e-mail to ecodevdir@bridgtonmaine.org

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