July 24, 2019

Committee to present final draft of town’s comprehensive plan

PERRY — The final draft of the town’s comprehensive plan will be presented by the Comprehensive Planning Committee at a public hearing 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6, at the Municipal Building.

The proposed plan is an advisory document which reflects a town’s desired future. Overall, it identifies current problems and opportunities that the town and its 760 residents face as a community in the future. Although the plan recommends the enactment of ordinances, all such ordinances require a separate town meeting vote.

According to Tom Martin, a certified planner from the Hancock County Planning Commission, the plan represents several years of hard work by the committee and the Washington and Hancock counties planning commissions which provided staff support. The Perry plan was initiated in 1989.

Ron Poitras, also a certified planner with Hancock’s commission, said Wednesday that the final draft was completed in cooperation with the Washington County Regional Planning Commission and its executive director, Glenn Avery.

The WCRPC has had no comprehensive planner since Jan. 30, 1992. The senior planner was laid off after the state’s Office of Comprehensive Planning was closed in December 1991. The WCRPC’s budget was cut, leaving no funds for a contract to do growth management for communities in the Down East area. “About 1 1/2 years ago, we had a $28,000 budget to perform growth management contracts. We now have only $1,200 to do that type of management,” Avery said this week.

Martin, working in conjunction with First Selectman Richard Gove and selectmen James Morris and Cliv Dore, is hopeful that if the plan is adopted, the Planning Committee will be helped by volunteers in a drafting of the ordinances.

Copies of the plan and a plan summary are available at the selectmen’s office for townspeople and the public to review. Residents are urged to review the documents and share any comments with the committee prior to the public hearing.

Martin and Gove said this week that Perry is unlike many Maine towns in that the community still has large areas of undeveloped shorefront property.

They said history has shown that more development leads to more demands on town services such as road maintenance, solid waste collection and disposal, and schools. “This leads to even higher taxes. While growth cannot be stopped, it can be managed,” Martin and Gove said.

The proposed future planning package suggests several ways for Perry to manage growth:

It recommends standards for commercial and large residential developments. For example, major commercial developments would be permitted in a limited area of town and be subject to siting standards in terms of setbacks and landscaping.

Residents would have the right to run a small business out of their home any place in town. All existing uses would be grandfathered.

Major subdivisions would be required to contribute their fair share of the cost of upgrading roads and other town services. The plan encourages subdivision schemes that preserve open space.

The plan also makes recommendations to preserve and enhance Perry’s various marine resources.

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