Brunswick council OKs draft plan for downtown

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BRUNSWICK — Agreement was in the air when town councilors unanimously approved every item on their agenda at Monday’s meeting.

Noteworthy issues included approval of the draft Master Plan for Downtown Brunswick and Outer Pleasant Street Corridor. The plan includes 160 recommendations to make these two areas more attractive and inviting to visitors and residents.

Although the Town Council approved the plan, there will be no immediate action on any of the plan’s recommendations. According to Councilor Margo Knight, who chaired the Downtown Master Plan Committee, “adoption of the plan does not compel the town to undertake anything.”

But the adoption does mean councilors agree about how they would like the town to look and feel, even if they do not necessarily agree on the specific steps to get there, Knight said.

The next step is to create a Downtown and Outer Pleasant Street Plan Implementation Committee that will report to the council every six months. Knight proposed that the committee be staffed by the following:

• Two town councilors.

• Two residents, one from downtown and one from the outer Pleasant Street area.

• Two business owners, one from downtown and one from the outer Pleasant Street area.

• Two at-large members, including one from the Brunswick Downtown Association.

Knight said she’d like to see a group take shape by spring. “Personally, I’d like to have the committee just so that we don’t lose steam on the motivation behind this whole plan,” she said.

Councilors also endorsed the Gateway 1 Corridor Action Plan and Interlocal Agreement. The plan calls for communities along Route 1 from Brunswick to Stockton Springs to work together to preserve rural areas along the highway while also reducing congestion and sprawl.

The Environmental Protection Agency awarded the project a National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in 2010.

Like the approval of the master plan, endorsing Gateway 1 and the Interlocal Agreement requires no immediate action by the town. However, it does mean that in the next few years Brunswick will incorporate Gateway 1 into its Comprehensive Plan.

According to Town Planner Kris Hultgren, this means focusing development into specific zones while preserving rural areas – something Brunswick has begun to do.

By endorsing the plan, Brunswick also becomes a part of the Corridor Coalition, a group of Mid-Coast communities along Route 1 that will work together on regional development issues.

Councilors also approved a zoning amendment for portions of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, or Brunswick Landing. The changes will allow Class I and Class II industry, warehouse and storage uses in areas previously zoned only for aviation-related uses.

According to Hultgren, Class I industry includes manufacturing and similar uses in a less-than 20,000-square-foot facility with 25 or fewer employees. Class II allows the same uses, but in a larger-than 20,000-square-foot facility with more than 25 employees.

The next council meeting is on Monday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m.

Emily Guerin can be reached at 718-3661 ext.123 or eguerin@theforecaster.net

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