Topsham eyes Comp Plan update for 2016

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TOPSHAM — A series of “Back to the Future” workshops is paving the way for an update to the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

The series began in October and concludes March 9, 2016. Next up is “Topsham’s historic heritage: Can we build for the future without losing the past?” It will be held at the Topsham Public Library, 25 Foreside Road, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12.

“The whole workshop series is to introduce maybe some new ideas to the community in terms of planning topics,” Assistant Planner Carol Eyerman said in an interview Dec. 17. “And just chat about things that the community is doing well … have a nice look at where we’ve been.”

The series also focuses on what the town could be doing better, and ideas for moving forward, she explained. The two prior workshops were both well attended, with “great questions, great comments – the things that get the community started, having a conversation about what it wants to look like.”

Eyerman called the series a “kick-off for the Comprehensive Plan process,” noting that “we’re trying to … instill some new knowledge in the community. So people can begin thinking about ‘do we like that idea?’ … ‘do we want to put it in our new Comp Plan, or not?”

The current 2005 Comprehensive Plan was updated five years ago, she said. The latest update  could start in the spring.

In the meantime, Topsham has three remaining “Back to the Future” workshops. Next month’s delves into Topsham’s heritage, as reflected in its Lower Village historic district and other areas of town, and how those resources can best be used going forward.

The workshop will have four speakers: Jane Lafleur, executive director of Friends of MidCoast Maine; Lorain Francis, senior program director with the Maine Development Foundation; Vanessa Farr, principal/planner of the Maine Design Workshop; and Scott Hanson, an architectural historian with Sutherland Conservation & Consulting.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Topsham’s Jan. 12, 2016, “Back to the Future” workshop delves into Topsham’s heritage, as reflected in its Lower Village historic district and other areas of town, and how those resources can best be used going forward.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.