NEW GLOUCESTER — The Comprehensive Plan Update Committee is moving forward, working on a draft of the new plan that it hopes will be ready by next year’s annual Town Meeting.

“It might be a little ambitious,” said Town Planner Scott Hastings. “We hope to have a draft by the winter to bring out to the public.”

New Gloucester last updated its map for the future 29 years ago, in 1990, and the state recommends updating it every 10 years.

Hastings said, “it’s not uncommon for it to take a little longer than that,” although he conceded that “it is a long time” since the town has updated its plan.

The committee has been working for a year and a half on the new comprehensive plan, including conducting multiple surveys to gather community feedback.

The group meets once or twice a month and has used the information it has collected to begin drafting inventory chapters of the plan, as required by the state.

The population and demographics draft, for instance, examines age distribution, household demographics and household income within the municipality. A draft about housing discusses housing stock and occupancy, housing characteristics and affordability. Another draft focuses on agriculture and forestry, including forest resources, tree growth and agriculture.

The committee is “starting to set goals and strategies,” Hastings said. “We’re looking at where the town wants to be and how we want to get there.”

He hopes to have a draft of the plan this winter, which can then be presented at public meetings and workshops to gather input from residents.

While the goal is to have the new comprehensive plan completed in time for a vote at the 2020 Town Meeting, Hastings said the timeline will depend on the feedback the committee receives from residents.

If we’re finding that we’re a little off base, it’s going to take a little bit longer. We’re making sure what we’ve done is actually what the town wants,” he said. 

So far, Hastings said that residents have been very willing to give their opinions on the town, and he thinks “we’ve got a pretty good view for where we want to be.”

Still, he said, “as with any project, I always want more input.”

The committee currently has one opening. Anyone interested in the position can contact Hastings at [email protected]

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