Greenbelt Plan set for hearing, vote in Cape Elizabeth

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The Town Council Wednesday agreed to hold a public hearing in December on the 2013 Draft Greenbelt Plan, and to vote in January on whether to adopt the plan.

Councilor Caitlin Jordan expressed disappointment with the way the Conservation Commission handled the 2013 update to the plan. Jordan, whose family owns Alewive’s Brook Farm, has previously stated that the commission ignored her family’s protests during the development process and left in the plan a proposed trail that runs through the farm.

“I’d like to see how we’re going to make positive changes for the next Conservation Commission that undertakes this in the coming year so we don’t have as many issues arise,” Jordan said.

Councilor David Sherman seconded that notion, saying that one of the council’s goals for 2014 should be improving the process by which the Conservation Commission drafts updates to the Greenbelt. He suggested a joint workshop between the Town Council and the Conservation Commission to help streamline the process and avoid future conflicts.

Most of the controversy surrounding the 2013 update has centered on a proposed seaside trail that would run through several backyards in the Shore Acres neighborhood.

No public comments were heard at Wednesday’s workshop.

The Greenbelt is a trail network that includes more than 15 miles of trails and offers access to more than 1,100 acres of land across Cape Elizabeth. The town and its Conservation Commission aim to update the Greenbelt Plan every seven years.

The 2013 update, which the Conservation Commission formally presented to the council on Oct. 7, features 23 proposed new trails. Six of those trails have been prioritized, including additions to the Stonegate/Loveitt Woods and Robinson Woods trails.

Brendan Twist can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow him on Twitter:@brendantwist.