Westport Island faces comp plan vote

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 7:00am

The Westport Island Comprehensive Planning Committee held a second public hearing on the proposed comprehensive plan Oct. 3 at the Town Hall. This hearing was occasioned by the need to make some minor and editorial changes to the document following the first hearing.

Turnout was light at this hearing with 14 people attending.

Bob Mooney covered the administrative steps the committee will be following leading up to the November election, where an article asking for the plan’s approval will be on the town ballot. Prior to then, selectmen will hold a hearing. If all goes well, the plan will go to the state before the election. Due to retirements and short staff, it is anticipated that it will take some time before state planning staff will be able to review the plan.

There was limited discussion in the hearing about the plan itself. The one substantive change to the original draft, discussed at the first hearing, was the addition of a section stating the town will evaluate the status of the plan and land use in the town at least every five years. Mooney said the town will need to look at its record-keeping to make tracking the measures used to evaluate the plan as easy to collect and manage as possible. Most are already collected by the town office, but not yet organized in a database for easy use. The committee also handed out a sheet listing the editorial changes.

The recommended dates for the strategic actions detailed in the plan, all of which are within the next five years, was felt to be potentially too aggressive.  Committee members pointed out that the scheduling for the actions will ultimately rest with the committees and people responsible for carrying them out, that as with the actions, the plan is providing, but not mandating the recommendations and suggestions: The plan is a guide for the town, but the town is free to modify the plan.

The proposed plan is on the town website, for reading or download, and copies are available at the town office and Wiscasset Public Library.  All residents are encouraged to review the plan and vote on it at the Nov. 5 election.

For further information, please contact the committee at westportislandcomp@gmail.com