TOPSHAM — Town planners on Saturday, June 23, will welcome public participation in the continuing Comprehensive Plan update, with an afternoon of events that include music, family games, and ice cream.
The event – a sequel of sorts to a “Find, Meet, Plan Your Topsham” weekend of public planning sessions and roundtable discussions held last October – will take place at the Topsham Public Library from noon-4 p.m.
A bring-your-own picnic kicks things off at noon, followed by a 1 p.m. ice cream social. A presentation and interactive workshop on the draft update of the plan will be held at 2 p.m. Family games and music are part of the day, too.
“We’re doing a day of activities/facilitated meeting,” Town Planner Rod Melanson said in an interview June 14.
With working families being the toughest demographic to draw to such events, “we’re trying to attract people,” he added.
The 2005 Comprehensive Plan was last updated in 2011. The ad hoc Comprehensive Plan Committee first met in November 2016, and hired Maine Design Workshop as a two-year planning consultant for $87,000 last spring. The plan update is on schedule for a Town Meeting vote in May 2019.
Maine Design Workshop next weekend will “go through all the big data trends, the key recommendations coming from the plan,” Melanson said. “There’ll be displays of all the maps that are significant in the plan.”
A “spending buckets” activity will allow residents to prioritize spending on 12 projects.
A Comprehensive Plan is visionary, and should not be confused with a zoning or redevelopment plan, Melanson pointed out.
“All throughout the winter, after October, we debriefed what we heard, spent most of November and December going through all of the data and input,” he added.
Public input has been a critical component of the Comprehensive Plan process, Melanson noted, referring as examples to an aging in place survey, and plans for the Route 196 corridor and the town’s natural areas.
“All of the public input that has been gathered over the past 10 years is informing this as well,” he said.