SOUTH PORTLAND — The West End Neighborhood Master Plan, approved by the City Council last year, has won state and regional recognition for its effectiveness in promoting desired change.

It was named the 2018 Outstanding Plan of the Year by the Maine Association of Planners and the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association.

The annual award recognizes one plan that meets the six criteria of originality, transferability, quality, comprehensiveness, public participation and implementation, said Carol Eyerman, Topsham’s town planner, who is president of the Maine association and Maine director of the regional chapter.

“This plan went beyond the traditional neighborhood plan and has been a driving force for real-time change, broad community empowerment, and enduring public and private partnerships,” Eyerman said.

Both the plan and related zoning changes were adopted by the council in September 2017. The plan was designed to better connect various apartment complexes within the isolated neighborhood and link them more closely to the rest of the city.

It also aimed to make more goods and services available within walking distance and enhance recreation and open space opportunities in the neighborhood.

“Coordination and partnerships throughout the process ensured that every recommendation in the plan is both feasible and reflects the needs of the residents,” Eyerman said. “Many components of the plan have already been implemented, and even more recommendations are on the docket for the city, local developers and other partners.”

One of the more significant results of the zoning changes is Avesta Housing’s plan to build a 64-unit subsidized apartment building at 586 Westbrook St. It will include a variety store, neighborhood resource hub and community room on the first floor.

City Planning Director Tex Haeuser credited Avesta, the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee, staff members of the Greater Portland Council of Governments and others “who did such a good job of getting to the heart of the West End revitalization opportunity.”

 

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