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Comprehensive Planning Committee

Minutes of November 20, 2014 (Draft, subject to correction)

Chairman Fred Stocking called the meeting to order at 6:31 PM

Present were:  Committee members Bonnie Marckoon, Kathie Gaianguest, Val Sprague, Richard McMullen, Fred Stocking, Bob Christie; Administrative Assistant to the Selectmen Stu Marckoon.

Minutes – October 2, 2014 – Bob moved to approve the minutes as written.  Val 2nd.  Vote in favor was unanimous.

Information Sharing1996 Comprehensive Plan – Committee members said they have reviewed the plan.

Long Range Planning Committee Report/Questionnaire – Fred had a copy of the of the final survey results.  There was a discussion on where to find that. The document was scanned and will be sent via e-mail to the committee.

 School Planning Meeting – Val reported she had attended that meeting.

Recreation Committee Meeting – Bonnie said she attended that meeting.

Capital Needs Schedule – Stu printed and distributed a copy of the spreadsheet to the committee.

Maps – College of the Atlantic/State Data Sets – Fred said he had the COA maps on a computer disc.  A brief discussion followed on the age of the maps and of what use they might be. 

Fred said he would e-mail the data sets from the State and Stu could distribute those.  A brief discussion followed on how to plug that data into the plan.

Fred said he looked at Surry’s plan on line and said it is likely Lamoine will need to take a detailed look at each subject area late in the process.

Community Involvement – Kathie said when she served on the planning committee prior to formation of this committee, she had compiled ideas on how to get people involved and offered that as a possible discussion item.  (The one-page memorandum was scanned for distribution to the committee)

Follow Up Discussion

Long Range Planning Survey – Val said she looked over the concerns in the Long Range Planning Report and asked if today’s concerns are similar.  She said it may be helpful in forming survey questions for this process.  Fred said he did a comparison of those questions to the previous Comprehensive Plan and can distribute that.

Open Space Report – Kathie said the open space report generated by the Conservation Commission has some very helpful suggestions.  Fred (who was the primary author) said page 15 of that report has census and some updated data. That report is posted on the town’s website.

School Planning Meeting – Valerie reported on the meeting which divided attendees into 3-groups.  School Committee member Gordon Donaldson said he would compile the information.  She said the groups looked at what is working well and what could improve.  She said her group looked at how the school was inviting.  She said things seem to be going well with parents, but there was a desire to make the library more accessible to parents and students.  She said that was just one area of discussion. 

Val said there was a feeling among the attendees that they were glad to have local control of the schools back.  She said some suggested a more visible sign.  She said the Comprehensive Planning Committee should look over the final document from the school committee.  She said there were about 30-people in attendance, and the school population is about 100-students.

Recreation Meeting – Bonnie said the Selectmen held the meeting to gather community thoughts on possibly creating a recreation committee. She said the meeting discussed how other towns offer recreation programs.  She said there was frustration stated about the struggle to offer programming for younger kids.  She said the YMCA offered to work with the town on such programs.  She said a field conflict between football and soccer was dealt with by the school principal.

Bonnie said the parents of younger students want more youth recreation offerings.  She said the Selectmen have recommended forming a recreation committee which would, among other things, coordinate space, offer programs, and the fees/costs would run through the town.  She said the Selectmen have put out a call for people to serve.

Bob asked about the current status of town participation.  He said years ago there was a baseball program.  Bonnie said the idea of the rec committee was to coordinate space and uses.  She said the issue of playground equipment maintenance came up and that was in the jurisdiction of the school department.  There was a brief discussion about youth sports offerings, and it was noted that recreational offerings for the older set was a desire.

Other Town Needs – Val noted the town lacks ocean access and boat launch accessibility and dock space.  Stu reported the State Park will be constructing a major upgrade to the boat ramp next fall.

Fred said he would be interested in seeing a “pocket park” created by the Mud Creek Bridge.

Kathie read off the items from the Open Space Report (page 23) and said they are all important.  There was a brief discussion about a community forest.

Kathie said she is interested in a community effort to introduce alternative energy.

Fred asked about an emergency management plan.  Stu said there is one, and he is the Local Emergency Management Agency director.  He said the town has studied law enforcement needs a couple of times, and concluded that the coverage provided by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and the Maine State Police are adequate.  He said ambulance coverage by County Ambulance also seems to be adequate.

Stu noted the land across the street from the Town Office is currently on the market and there has been some informal discussion about the town acquiring that.

Val said she believed protecting residential neighborhoods is important.  A brief discussion followed.

Fred said he might have some suggestions for a process to take the town out of the constant conflict mode over gravel mining.

Fred said he has a problem with the 1996 Comprehensive Plan as it basically created only two zones – one for a residential area on Buttermilk Road and a small development zone in the Town Office area.  A brief discussion followed.

Fred said there is no long term plan for the Pinkhams’ fields which are a nice attraction of the town.

Bob said he’s interested in potential conservation easements and noted the uses of the old Ridge Road and development along the water. 

Fred mentioned a wildlife habitat preservation effort might be important.

Bob talked about agriculture and noted that old pictures show much of the town devoid of trees.  A discussion followed about clear cuts. 

Kathie said the plan should take a look at the aging population and include the elderly in the vitality of the future.  A discussion followed on various resources and needs of the elder community.

Fred said one obvious issue is transportation and the number of trips made into the City of Ellsworth.  There was a brief discussion.

Bob said he would find input from the entrepreneurial community quite valuable.  Fred said there has been talk about having a town directory.  Kathie said a business inventory would be quite helpful.

Richard said having a way to access the Sunrise Trail from Lamoine would be useful as part of a recreation program.

Next Meeting – The next meeting will be December 4, 2014 at 6:30PM.  Fred said he would like to have another unstructured discussion on the committee’s process.  He said the pre-committee created a proposal which might be discussed.  Kathie said she would like to include a discussion on how to include others in the process.

The January meeting will be held on January 15, 2015 (the 1st is a holiday).

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:58 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Marckoon, Secretary