The Bowdoinham Planning Board will soon revamp the town’s comprehensive plan.

The comprehensive plan guides future land use decisions, development projects and natural and cultural resource conservation throughout the town. The plan represents what the town wants for the next 10 years.

The town adopted its current comprehensive plan in 2014 and the state requires an update at lease every decade.

“The town needs to reassess where it is at and where it wants to be in another 10 years,” said Planning and Development Director Jennifer Curtis. “It is important to the committee, and ultimately, the adoptability and implementation of the plan, that all parts of the community are involved in creating the updated vision.”

The first step in comprehensive planning is establishing a vision for the town, said Curtis.

“There is a specific requirement for the plan’s vision elements,” added Curtis. “The comprehensive plan must include a vision statement that summarizes the community’s desire, teacher community character in terms of economic development, transportation systems, land use patterns and its role in the region.”

Though these are broad topics that the committee will be looking at, Curtis said they specifically don’t know what will emerge as priorities for the town.

As part of the visioning process, the committee is organizing a public forum on Nov. 16, to gather information from the community to see what they like about the town and want to keep and what they like to change.

“We will gather information from the community,” said Curtis. “Later a community survey will be conducted and then a follow-up public meeting will be held to get more specific on some topics that emerge as a priority.”

Cutis said the community had made remarkable progress towards many of the recommendations in the 2014 comprehensive plan like — supporting and promoting existing businesses and community groups, providing resources and education for starting and running a small business, developing infrastructure to support business development in the village and implementing walkable village plan.

Bowdoinham’s economy is made up of small businesses, the majority of which are home-based businesses located throughout the town.

The town’s population is 3,091 people, according to the 2020 census. The population increased steadily between 2010 and 2019, with about 20 new homes per year and a population increase of about 100 people.

According to the American Association of Retired Persons, it is expected that by 2030, 30% of Bowdoinham’s residents will be aged 60 and above.

“We are hoping everybody will feel safe and comfortable to attend the public forum,” said Curtis. “We are encouraging people to comply with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for safe public meetings. A survey will be made available to folks who don’t feel comfortable attending the meeting.”

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