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Brunswick's new planner gets to work

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Brunswick's new planner gets to work

BRUNSWICK — The  town's new planner began work this week.

Kris Hultgren, formerly a staff planner for Bar Harbor, was recently hired by Planning and Development Director Anna Breinich. Hultgren, 32, replaces Jim Fortune, who resigned earlier this year. 

Hultgren, who moved to Brunswick last week, said the town's transition from the closure of Brunswick Naval Air Station and a willingness to move closer to Portland made his new job an ideal fit.

"There were a number of different reasons," he said. "From a planning perspective, (BNAS closure) and projects like Maine Street Station are interesting projects to be a part of."

Hultgren began working as a staff planner in Bar Harbor in 2007. One of his major projects was creating a 20-year development plan for the Town Hill Village, one of five villages in Bar Harbor. In 2007 Bar Harbor adopted a new Comprehensive Plan, but unresolved planning issues prompted the town to create a separate plan for Town Hill Village.

Hultgren described the project as "a mini-comprehensive plan." 

The Town Hill plan is slated for adoption by the Bar Harbor Town Council later this month, although it has attracted its share of criticism from residents.  

Earlier this year residents successfully petitioned for a June 9 Town Meeting warrant item that would create a moratorium on large-scale development in Town Hill Village. The moratorium was in response to Hannaford Bros.' proposal to build a 35,000-square-foot store. 

Hultgren said his experience with Town Hill Village prepared him for the sometimes difficult job of balancing planning and development goals with residents' concerns. 

In addition to working as a project manager on the Town Hill Village project, Hultgren also helped draft a wind turbine ordinance. The experience could come in handy in Brunswick, where Breinich said this week that at least one resident is planning to submit a zoning variance proposal for a wind turbine.  

Prior to working in Bar Harbor, Hultgren worked for the Center of Tourism Research and Outreach between 2006 and 2007. Prior to that he worked for six months as a research assistant on the Maine Department of Transportation's Gateway 1 Project. Between 2005 and 2006 he worked for Holt & Lachman Planning and Architecture in Portland.

Hultgren, a Littleton, N.H. native, earned his bachelor's degree from the University of New Hampshire in 1999. He also has a graduate degree in community planning from the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine.

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or smistler@theforecaster.net 

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