Yarmouth's draft 2010 Comp Plan rolled out for public viewing

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YARMOUTH — A draft version of the 2010 Comprehensive Plan has been released after four years of working to update and restructure the 1993 document. 

The Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee gathered input from the community through surveys, workshops and a series of subcommittee meetings. The public planning process helped shape the new version of the town’s vision document, which provides guidelines for future development.

Vanessa Farr, Director of Planning and Development, said the CPSC has met regularly to create the document.

“The plan focuses on five major topics that have emerged as the most important areas to the community,” she said. “The village area, population diversity, historical character, Route 1 and rural character and open space. They are all interrelated.”

Since the committee has done significant work in gathering data and structuring the plan, Farr said it would be helpful for new volunteers and fresh energy to participate in the implementation phase.

“It would be great to find members of the community who are passionate about the topics described in the plan and help implement the ideas,” she said. “We need people with time, interest, energy and passion.”

Farr is looking for people with an interest in history, or affordable housing, who want to work on a conservation project, or are passionate about LEED and private construction.

“We want residents to read as little or as much about the plan they can and participate in making it happen,” she said. “Knowledge of the plan is needed. We want to know if we heard the public and if we got it right.”

While the plan uses key concepts from the 1993 document, Farr said the shift from use-based to form-based code is new. The form-based concept focuses on the design and placement of the building instead of the specific use of the property. She said it is a modern and ambitious approach to regulating growth and development, and it is found throughout the updated Comprehensive Plan.

“Form-based code is a new tool used to regulate zoning with clearly defined rules about how to build determined by the community,” she said. “When the community has a part in making the rules, when we are clear about what we want built in our community, then the permitting process is smoother and the end result is more attractive. This process takes the community out of a reactionary position, and puts them into a proactive position.”

Farr said the planning process can affect the lives of everyone in the community.

“The Comprehensive Plan is about livability and community interaction and quality of life,” she said. “People should pay attention.”

Farr encouraged the public to read the draft plan on the town’s Web site or go to the Town Hall or Library to find copies. She said there is a binder at the Library for people to leave their comments.

“At the very least, I hope people spend five minutes to read the summary,” she said.

The CPSC will present the plan to the Planning Board at a public hearing April 14 at 7 p.m. at the Log Cabin. Residents are invited to attend and are encouraged to speak at the hearing. For more information, contact Farr at 846-2401.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net