The first draft of Kennebunk’s comprehensive plan has been added to the city website, and the committee responsible is looking for input from the public. FILE PHOTO

KENNEBUNK–The first draft of Kennebunk’s comprehensive plan has been added to the city website, and the committee responsible is looking for input from the public.

According to the American Planning Association, a comprehensive plan is a document that guides a community’s development, taking into account census and climate data to create an informed plan for the respective municipality. A town’s comprehensive plan is usually updated every five to 10 years, and helps shape the way the board of selectmen and planning board make decisions for the town.
Kennebunk’s comprehensive plan was last updated in 2011. The current committee has been working to revamp the plan for the past two years, with progress being stalled occasionally due to other commitments and rotating exits from committee members.
The current committee is chaired by Bob Metcalf and includes community representative Jeffery Bonney, Conservation Committee Representative Nick Branchina, Historical Preservation Committee Representative Barbara Fleshman, Economic Development Commission Representative Robert Georgitis, Community Development Director Christopher Osterrieder, Lower Village Committee representative Elizabeth Smith, Town Planner John Stoll, Edward Trainer, Janice Vance and Keith Wallace.
“I’ve been working with the town for a long time and I was there during the update in 1993. We’re working toward creating a plan that will help goals and strategies be identified,” Metcalf said.
When updating the comprehensive plan, the committee took into account a number of changes in data to ensure that the projections created in the comprehensive plan hold true moving forward.
According to Metcalf, the committee took into account changes in census data, natural resources, marine resources and sea level rise when creating the new draft of the plan. The comprehensive plan will work in tandem with the zoning ordinances of the town, updating them to reflect the strategies for smart community growth within the plan.
One of the changes that needed to be addressed when updating the plan is the rise of sea level, which in turn changes the flood map for the town. There are also concerns with aging municipal facilities, such as issues with sewer and water treatment facilities, the inevitable nature of aging infrastructure requires that is factored in with the plan.
The committee also considered the topic of affordable housing, and how the possibility of creating needs careful concern when considering zoning and the comprehensive plan.
According to Metcalf, affordable housing doesn’t mean only low-income housing, but also making the housing reasonable for young families to move into the area.
“It’s been a concern of the committee and the planning board,” Metcalf said. “We need to promote sustainability within the community, and that means bringing in young families. A lot of time the people who work in the town can’t afford to live in the town, so that’s something we need to consider very carefully moving forward.”
Metcalf encourages residents to take time to look through the updated comprehensive plan, available now for perusal on the town website.
The next meeting to discuss the plan will be held after the holidays in January.
“The best thing everyone can do is to look over the plan and let us know whatever concerns or questions you have about it. We want to know what people think, the more responses the better,” Metcalf said.
Once the plan is approved by the council, the committee hopes it will move to be approved by a town-wide vote in June.

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