Commissioners approve LCRPC contract with Wiscasset

Sun, 05/08/2022 - 1:30pm

Lincoln County commissioners unanimously approved a one-year contract May 3 between Wiscasset and Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission. Wiscasset will pay the commission $37,000 for a year of planning service consultation. The commission will provide assistance to Wiscasset’s planning board, ordinance review committee, code enforcement and town manager. LCRPC Executive Director Mary Ellen Barnes told commissioners assistance included guidance on site plan reviews, subdivision applications and ordinance support. The agreement also calls for assistance to the comprehensive plan committee, project funding and research and grant writing. 

In other action, LCRPC is a playing a role in Gov. Janet Mills’ climate initiative. Commissioners unanimously allowed LCRPC to join a regional effort geared toward helping communities reduce carbon emissions and address climate change. The commission is partnering with Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission, Greater Portland Council of Governments and Gabrian McPhail of Resilient Communities to create the Region 1 Coordinator Collaborative for the Regional Coordinator Pilot Program. 

Barnes told commissioners the program is being directed by the Governor’s Office of Innovation Policy & the Future. She estimated Lincoln County’s cost between $11,000 and $12,000 per year. The two-year pilot program is designed to work with communities in identifying climate change priority projects. Region 1 Community Coordinator consists of Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Knox, York and Cumberland counties. “Lack of capacity, expertise, and funding are consistently cited by municipalities as a reason why they aren’t able to implement their climate and energy priorities,” Barnes said. “Towns not ready for upcoming federal investments in infrastructure, disaster preparation and clean energy may miss out on these opportunities.”

Region 1 is one of four statewide. McPhail will work as the Region 1 manager and spearhead coordination between the other regional planning commissions and various advisory partners (Island Institute, University of Maine, Nature Conservancy and Casco Bay Partnership. Each regional planning commission will work with its communities toward promoting Mills’ Community Resilience Partnership. The grant period runs from April 2022 through March 2024. LCRPC receives $23,750 in funding, or $11,875 per year. According to an LCRPC press release, funding includes expenses for staff hours, supplies and travel expenses.  “We look forward to working on this project with our fellow organizations, especially as a way for LCRPC to implement the action areas and goals of the ‘Environmental Sustainability’ strategic priority identified in our 2021-2026 strategic plan,” Barnes said. 

Barnes also announced Emily Gerencer of Gardiner would join the staff as a Margaret Chase Smith intern. Gerencer just finished her third year at Gustavus Aldophus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Her 12-week internship begins May 31.

Commissioners meet next at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 17 in the courthouse.