Aroostook County planning effort is reinvigorated

Community Guided Planning and Zoning

Members of the Land Use Planning Commission received an update on Community Guided Planning and Zoning at their January 14th meeting. Three projects are under way.

The first, Aroostook County led by the Northern Maine Development Commission, is being reinvigorated. LUPC staff recently became more involved in drafting materials for steering committee meetings, helping the group coalesce around topics that emerged in earlier meetings and developing a timeline (Sept.) The focus is on small business development and natural resource processing. The steering committee is looking at adopting some Development zones from the Rangeley plan as well the principles of adjacency. The committee meets monthly. The next few meetings are in Caribou on February 18, March 18 and April 15.

Western Maine’s process document was reviewed and agreed to by LUPC. Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments (AVCOG) and Kennebec Council of Governments (KVCOG) are facilitating the process for Oxford and Somerset Counties. They formed two separate steering committees that will “talk to each other.” Somerset’s first meeting was January 26, in Solon, with infrastructure and recreational facilities on the agenda. Franklin is completing its membership roster.

Washington County Commissioners approved $80,000 of TIFF money in January, for a two-year planning effort presented by Washington County Council of Governments. In addition to WCCOG’s resources, this effort has volunteer work from the University of Maine Machias GIS lab. They are looking at early March for the first meeting to develop a process document.

LUPC Subdivision Review

The Land Use Planning Commission has held two stakeholder meetings to consider potential changes to the subdivision rules and standards. The first (October 2014) focused on issues and priority. The second (January) considered rules around how subdivisions are required to be laid out, subdivision standards, what level of review/standards are necessary for different sizes of subdivisions, layout and design in relation to location, cluster and open space requirements, etc. The day long meetings have been well attended by the forest products sector, with some optimism. LUPC staff was asked to prepare options for stakeholders to consider at the next meeting (9 am, February 25th, at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer.) Samantha Horn Olsen reported to the Commission that the agenda will include: 1. review the options, provide feedback and agree upon areas of consensus (policy issues) and 2. discuss technical items that were raised in earlier meetings.

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