The Kennebunk Select Board unanimously awarded a bid to Massachusetts-based firm Community Scale, LLC, to begin work on a housing needs plan late last month.

In April, the town issued a request for proposal for consulting services related to creating a housing needs plan. The town received two bids, and Community Scale was the lowest bidder at $44,850.

The Kennebunk Select Board unanimously awarded a bid to Massachusetts-based firm Community Scale, LLC, to begin work on a housing needs plan. Post file

The project has an overall budget allocation of $55,000, and is intended to support efforts in addressing issues related to global housing needs of the community.

“The Community Scale, LLC, has the experience and capacity to take on and deliver the project within the targeted parameters of the RFP,” Vice Chair Miriam Whitehouse said.

The project is overdue, Director of Community Development Chris Osterreider said. The 2022 Kennebunk Comprehensive Plan outlines a section specifically speaking to housing, but the issue was never addressed.

Since 2022, the community has seen not only a heightened increase in development, but an upper-scale increase, Osterreider said.


The population in Kennebunk is growing, and so is the need for housing. According to Osterreider, the population has increased by about 1,000 people, but housing, including affordable options, has not kept pace.

“Kennebunk is a highly desirable community, what’s happening is it’s not a very affordable community,” Osterreider said.

The purpose of the plan is to look at what’s changed in Kennebunk over the last five years, develop an inventory of the community, and determine what is missing from the town in terms of housing.

The plan will also look at current housing strategies that are or are not working, including financial incentives, affordable housing TIF zones, and inclusionary zoning.

Over the next few months, several community outreach sessions with stakeholders will take place, and the plan will work to set housing targets for the next 10 years.

“We’ve had incentives built into our ordinances for years, but single-family home ownership is not the solution for affordable housing,” Osterreider said.


Housing affordability is based on Area Median Income (AMI), or the average amount of money that a family brings in each year.

In 2022, the York County AMI was $79,743. Because the AMI is so high, by this definition, affordable housing is not necessarily actually “affordable.”

“We have to look at a different definition to figure out how to affect people,” Osterreider said.

In March, Kennebunk voters approved an affordable housing project for seniors that would allow Kennebunk Savings to use land it owns on Alewive Park Road for 70-unit affordable housing development for older residents.

Affordable housing efforts have also been taking place in surrounding towns. In Biddeford, York, and Sanford, three former courthouses could be turned into affordable housing units thanks to LD 2277, a bill that would authorize the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services to sell the courthouses so they could be repurposed as housing.

The Kennebunk housing needs plan process is on a short timeline, Osterreider said. The kickoff will happen this month, and a draft plan should be available by mid-August.

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