Scarborough draws road map for Comp Plan update

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SCARBOROUGH — A kick-off event Tuesday at Town Hall marked the beginning of a new Comprehensive Plan that is expected to address traffic issues on Route 1, affordable housing and a town center over the next year. 

Among other issues, the plan will also examine more types of housing, a community center, supporting for schools, land conservation, and the state of the beaches.

Senior Planner Jay Chase said the town is  “envisioning (the plan) to be a bit more dynamic” than the 2006 plan Scarborough is now working under. 

The town has hired Tennessee-based Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative at a cost of nearly $133,000 to help update the plan for 2018.

The collaborative bills itself as “a boutique New Urbanist town planning and urban design firm specializing in the design and implementation of projects across the United States.” 

Chance said the town also has a six-member Long Range Planning Committee to help review the plan.

During Tuesday’s presentation, Brian Wright, founding principal at TPUDC, talked at length about the process and how the company will go about writing the plan. Wright also fielded questions from the audience, which included Town Council and School Board members, the long-range planning committee, other committee members, members of special-interest groups and other residents.

“We have no preconceived notions,” Wright said.”We are here to learn your story.”

Wright highlighted Oak Hill and Dunstan Crossing as areas of interest, but he did not go into details.

He defined the Comprehensive Plan as a long-range document that establishes a vision for the town and guides policies related to growth.

The state suggests that municipalities update their comprehensive plans every decade. After Scarborough’s final draft is complete in spring 2018, the proposal will be sent to the state for approval before it goes before the Town Council for adoption. 

Martin said in an interview after the meeting that the town wants to accommodate community interests before “someone from the outside can pull it all together, synthesize and come up with a fresh perspective.”

To that end, the consulting company will be hosting a three-day “Planapalooza” from Sept 25-28 for what is being called a “very interactive process to extract information from the community.”

The collaborative plans on setting up a Facebook page so residents can share their ideas and so they can stay informed through the comprehensive planning.

Wright said the collaborative will be gathering data during the summer ahead of the planapalooza. During the fall and winter the consultants will refine the plan and work on more community engagement. In March and April the plan will be drafted and finalization will continue through the spring.

Martin said the town is holding at the end of June to which around 21 town committees plus other town-related groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Scarborough Land Trust and other service organizations will be invited. 

“There are probably 100 to 150 people involved in committees connected to the town and we want to thank them and give them a specific role in the comprehensive plan.” Martin said. “There is an incredible devotion to this town and we want them to be part of this.”

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or msochan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

Brian Wright, founding principal at Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative, the company Scarborough has hired to help write its comprehensive plan, talks about the process May 23 at Town Hall.

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