The Planning Front: A very busy summer

Anne Krieg

Anne Krieg

By Anne Krieg, AICP

Bridgton Planning & Development

ecodevdir@bridgtonmaine.org
Happy summer! As we wind down to the fall season, I know many service workers in the tourist industry that are truly exhausted, so hang in there if it’s you!

I have heard from many businesses that this summer has been good for visitation; so though you are likely spent, I am happy things are going well. I love to go to local businesses and overhear second homeowner and visitor conversations because they are all remarking on how great Bridgton is doing so keep up your good work.

I have not done all of my summer bucket list, but this summer has been the summer of evening swims — hot days and warm nights lend to such activity. There is nothing like, after a long workday with an evening meeting to boot, to go to one of our lakes/ponds and swim through the sunset time to dark. If you have not done this yet, I highly recommend the practice.

Have you taken a look at the Land Use Ordinance the Land Use & Zoning Committee has been working on the last year? We are in the final stages of legal review, cleaning up language and the like, but the basic tenets are there for the districts. The area the committee has taken on first is the portion of Route 302 from the monument to the Naples town line. The downtown portion allows for a range of commercial uses, taking care to keep the pedestrian scale of Main Street intact.

As you turn onto Portland Road, this area is called Downtown Village II, where a similar amount of uses are allowed as the core downtown of Main Street, but other things come into play like landscaping and side/rear setbacks; again these regulations are placed to keep the “texture” intact and respect the residential neighborhoods bordering the area.

As you come to the Willet Road intersection, the landscape changes to a more of a corridor-like landscape. This area allows more uses, but also seeks to change the arrangement of buildings to have parking to the side and rear of the building. This will create a gradual transition from the wider outer corridor into the village districts. The outer corridor allows more development but seeks to reduce conflicts of uses with residential uses by encouraging multi-residential developments.

The desire to keep the rural wooded landscape was high during the comprehensive plan process, so a larger front setback, with requirements for a wooded landscape are proposed. The current draft is on the town’s website: www.bridgtonmaine.org. Do not hesitate to ask me questions and to register your comments by e-mail (ecodevdir@bridgtonmaine.org) or in person at the Planning Board/Board of Selectmen meetings in September. The plan is to place the finished document on the November ballot.

If you have felt slighted by me this past month, it’s because a large part of my work hours have been dedicated to ordinance writing and legal review coordination. I’m not breathing in and out of a paper bag over it, but I’m close! I hope, though, to surface soon on other things.

We are coordinating the Main Street Improvement project with Maine DOT. You have likely seen the traffic counters out there to give good summer trip data to help make sound decisions on improvements. Greater Portland Council of Governments is also assisting with data collection. We hope to survey the area this fall and during the winter months to do the analysis and final drawings. More public interaction will occur during this period.

The town is considering working with the Heart & Soul process, started by the Orton Foundation. It’s a public participation method to reconnect us with what we love most about Bridgton and connecting it to a map for future decisions. We used a massive public participation process for the 2014 Comprehensive Plan and have a great document resulting from that effort. There remains, though, conflict with the projects we are working on to implement the plan to continue to move Bridgton forward. This process allows us to more fully involve everyone, focus on what matters to people, and look to long-term success. Take a look at the process here: www.orton.org/

Believe it or not, we are preparing staff reviews for next year’s Community Development Block Grant funds. We want to start the process even earlier this year to allow full public discussion regarding these funds. Look for an agenda item at the selectmen’s meeting in September on this matter.

New committees are being formed by selectmen: Building Committee, Events Committee and an Ordinance Review Committee. See us in the town office if you are interested in serving on these committees.

Coming up, I will be attending ConnectMe public hearings, advertising for a part-time grant writer, getting a bid set ready for more improvements to the Town Hall and the Bridgton Community Center, as well as putting the bathroom at Salmon Point out to bid. We are hopeful for resolution soon on the Woods Pond bathroom construction. I am also working with Rec Director Gary Colello on grant opportunities for recreation with Rural Development on the federal level.

Next month is the Greater Portland Council of Governments Executive Committee retreat (I represent you there as first vice president), the annual meeting of the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association, and a board meeting of the Maine Association of Planners.

I will also be working at the Chamber’s Brew Fest at Point Sebago on Saturday, Sept. 24. I love this event — it’s so much fun, so I hope to see you there! More information here: www.mainelakesbrewfest.com/

Enjoy these warm days as we prepare to go into cooler evenings. Don’t fret if you didn’t finish your summer bucket list as fun times in fall are ahead!

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