Building a new Pownal public safety building, creating a town center and affordable housing for seniors were major goals included in the 2021 Comprehensive Plan approved at a special town meeting Monday.

In light of those proposals, the main concern residents brought to the table was bringing those changes to fruition and not seeing the plan “just put on the shelf,” according to Town Administrator Becky Taylor-Chase.

Those who attended the in-person meeting also passed three ordinance amendments that Taylor-Chase described as housekeeping tasks. A correction was made in the town’s road standards to ensure diagrams match written text. In the animal control and welfare ordinance, the word “mammal” was changed to “animal,” and the town’s compensation ordinance will now be called a compensation policy.

Approval of the comprehensive plan came as a requirement by the state that each Maine town has a blueprint of how to manage town growth that is updated every 10 years; Pownal’s was last updated in 2006.

Pownal’s vision between now and 2031 is to maintain its rural character while also developing a center with a community gathering space, a cafe, and elder and afterschool services. The plan also looks to build a new fire and rescue facility and renovate the public works building, both needed in part to partk their respective vehicles. Taylor-Chase said the town’s fire station is too small and if the department’s equipment was updated, the fire trucks wouldn’t even be able to fit in the building.

Both Fire Chief Jesse Peters and Road Commissioner Dick Clarke said housing vehicles is just one problem they face.


“It would be good to have all our apparatus in one location. Right now we’re in two different stations (453 Elmwood Road and 85 Fickett Road). North Station (Thicket Road) doesn’t have running water or a bathroom,” Peters said. “We’re crowded at both facilities and there’s a great lack of storage space,”  He added that when other towns provide mutual aid to cover Pownal’s stations, they have to leave their trucks outside. As it stands, Pownal has to special order their trucks to fit in the space they have.

It’s a similar predicament over at public works.

“We have almost $2 million worth of equipment parked outside because our facility can only fit one vehicle in at a time,” Clarke said. “It’s very difficult, especially during storms, to work on vehicles.

“Another problem we have is a place to rest during a storm. We either sleep in our trucks or in chairs in the town garage. We could use a facility where we can rest and make a meal in between rounds of plowing. We’d like to see a facility that houses what our needs are.”

“Back in the 2006 plan, there was talk of needing a new fire station because the one we have is inadequate,” Taylor-Chase said. “There was a needs assessment done and a new fire station was recommended. Now, in the new comprehensive plan, there’s still a recommendation for a new fire station.

“That’s one example used about how they wanted to make sure with this plan in the future, rather than it keep being a recommendation,” she said. “There’s discussions and we move forward with it.”


Another goal is addressing affordable senior and veteran housing, which may include using tax-acquired properties or reaching out to Habitat for Humanity.

The town also wants to remain true to its rural character by encouraging landowners to preserve their holdings through tax incentives and by using land use ordinances to keep growth in check.

There are no projected timelines or costs yet for the action items associated with the plan.

“In the coming months, the Select Board will prioritize what they feel is the first thing, given feedback, to get to work on,” Taylor-Chase said. “They’ll probably want to have a discussion about a possible plan for capital (funding) on the fire department. Discussions will need to happen first, Select Board meetings, brainstorming and prioritizing, and then they’ll start getting in motion.”

The full comprehensive plan and information about upcoming meetings can be found at

“Keep an eye on our website, come to the meetings, check the agendas, speak during public comment, submit your input,” Taylor-Chase said. “Try to be actively involved so that you can make sure we are moving forward with this plan. One of the comments by a resident was that he felt it is the duty of all residents just to be vigilant and active in taking part and making sure the plan moves forward. I thought that was a great sentiment.”

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