Cape Elizabeth land management plan nears completion

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CAPE ELIZABETH — More than 900 acres of open space and public trails have been identified, mapped and organized and a management plan will be presented to the Town Council by the end of June.

The Open Space and Greenbelt Management Plan Committee has nearly finished its inventory and has developed a plan including laws and rules for usage, maintenance and important public information.

The committee, comprised of the members of the Conservation Commission and Councilor Jessica Sullivan, was formed in April 2010 to create a management plan for the town’s open space and greenbelt trails.

At a May 26 public meeting, the group presented its draft plan to about a dozen residents who offered questions and comments, Sullivan said. She said the comments indicated the plan “was on the right track.”

“This is not the final step by any means,” Sullivan said. “The council will have the ability to alter the plan and open it back up for public comment.”

Town Planner Maureen O’Meara said members of the public who attended the meeting supported the plan and offered positive feedback. She said the Open Space and Greenbelt Management Plan Committee will meet on June 14 to finalize its draft report.

The management plan identifies and describes parcels of open space, what is or is not permitted use on various parcels and provides reasons for certain restrictions. O’Meara said a town ordinance restricts ATV use on town-owned land, and other restrictions are often the result of state laws and property deeds.

The management plan includes descriptions of each parcel, a chart that outlines the primary and secondary open spaces, what activities are permitted and any facilities on each parcel.

Sullivan said the committee’s goal is to create transparency and promote public enjoyment and open space accessibility.

The plan will be presented to the Town Council within the next few weeks, O’Meara said.

“This group has worked very hard to meaningfully open (town open space) for pubic use,” she said.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson.

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