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Town Planning Awards Announced

Statewide -

STATEWIDE — The Maine Association of Planners (MAP), an organization of public, private, and nonprofit professional planners, citizen volunteers, and other professionals dedicated to the practice of planning in Maine, presented the following awards at its annual meeting at Bowdoin College in Brunswick on June 17, 2011. MAP will now forward the award recipients to the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association (NNECAPA) for consideration in its regional award competition. These nominations are due August 1, 2011 and the winners will be announced at NNECAPA’s annual conference, to take place September 8-9 in Burlington, VT.

MAP’s 2011 Plan of the Year went to the Town of Damariscotta’s Heart and Soul Planning Charrette Report.

Damariscotta received the 2011 Plan of the Year award for successfully merging a charrette-style public engagement process with the Heart & Soul values-based planning process, while at the same time integrating Community VIZ technology to measure the relative strength of the plan for the community’s commercial core on the values identified by townspeople as assets of the community.

Along with Damariscotta town representatives and citizens, also recognized by MAP were the Friends of Midcoast Maine, the Orton Family Foundation, B. Dennis Town Design, Elizabeth A. Della Valle, AICP, and Spatial Alternatives, and Placeways LLC as part of the team behind the successful charrette planning project in Damariscotta.

“One of the primary planning principles that was observed in this project is the overriding commitment to engaging the community in expressing its values and understanding underlying planning principles and the impacts of decisions on those values and principles. Additional planning principles reflected in the project include sustainable design, economic revitalization, and great streets,” (Quoting Elizabeth A. Della Valle, one of the Maine planning consultants who worked on this project.)

The Damariscotta Heart & Soul Planning Charrette Report will now also be nominated by MAP for the regional Plan of the Year award as determined by the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association (NNECAPA). If successful, this nomination may in turn be passed along for national award consideration by the American Planning Association (APA) later this year.

For more information about the plan, contact Beth Della Valle at 899-3123 or bethdellavalle@maine.rr.com.

The 2011 Project of the Year award was given to the Sunrise Trail Coalition, a non-profit organization, which was the lead facilitator in the creation of the Down East Sunrise Trail.

When the rails and ties were removed in 2006 from an 85-mile stretch of the Calais ranch railroad corridor running through Hancock and Washington County, some observers saw it as threat to the economy. However this joint effort of the Maine Department of Transportation, the Maine Department of Conservation, and several citizen organizations was in fact conceived and designed to preserve the corridor for future rail use. A wide gravel base is provided throughout and bridges have been improved for year round recreational use

Businesses have already benefited from the project, especially on weekends when the parking lots at the trail’s access points are filled with vehicles, many with ATV trailers. “They are coming from all over the state,” according to trail manager, Charlie Corliss who has arranged for overflow parking at Washington Junction. Description taken from “Rails to Trails: An economic engine” by Leslie Bowman, The Working Waterfront Nov. 2010.
MAP’s Project of the Year designation reflects the unprecedented overall length of the Rails to Trails conversion in this project, the extensive partnerships coordinated through the Coalition and the high degree of implementation. This project will also be forwarded for NNECAPA and APA award consideration.

For more information on the Down East Sunrise Trail contact Jim Fisher of Hancock Regional Planning Commission at 667-7131 of jfisher@hcpcme.org.

2011 Citizen Planner of the Year was Margo H. Knight, Town Councilor in Brunswick.

Margo has been involved in many projects as highly proactive member of the Town Council in Brunswick, including planning process for the pivotal Main Street Station redevelopment project. Margo chaired two years of bimonthly committee meetings on the more recent Downtown Master Plan project, taking the lead on an intensive summer of public meetings, forums, downtown traffic experiments, much of the actual reworking/editing of the downtown master plan, as well as countless hours advocating for the planning process at Town Council meetings and in phone calls with constituents.

“As the Chair of the Committee that was responsible for the creation of the Master Plan for Downtown Brunswick and the Outer Pleasant Street Corridor, she skillfully guided her team…The result is a comprehensive planning document that addresses all facets of community development, both for the short and long term. We anticipate that the Plan will significantly strengthen economic development in our Downtown area, as it has recently received unanimous approval from Town Council.” (Excerpted from a letter by Stephanie Slocum, Executive Director of the Brunswick Downtown Association.)

There were many compelling nominations received for the Citizen Planner of the Year, a reflection of the volunteer spirit that makes quality land use decision-making possible here in Maine. MAP is pleased to acknowledge Margo H. Knight as the leader of the pack this year and to forward her nomination to NNECAPA and APA.

For more information on this award contact the Town of Brunswick’s Planning Director Anna Breinich at 725-6660 or abreinich@brunswickme.org.

2011 Professional Planner of the Year Richard P. Baker, who recently retired from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Shoreland Zoning program.

Getting its start in the 1970’s “decade of the environment,” Shoreland Zoning was the vehicle for many Maine communities’ first exposure to zoning and the collective land use vision that comes with natural resource regulation. In terms of Maine’s critical competitive advantages for livability, Shoreland Zoning could be seen as the perfect bookend to our profession’s current focus on Downtown Revitalization as part of the broader Smart Growth and Quality of Place campaigns.

Rich played a critical role in Maine planning as the backbone of DEP’s Shoreland Zoning program and in his unique position as contact person for those of us in municipal planning. “When I first moved into the Shoreland Zoning Coordinator position … Others worked mostly with businesses and the public, whether through licensing or enforcement activities. My role, however, was mostly working cooperatively with code enforcement officers, planning boards, planners, and boards of appeals.”

The Maine Association of Planners is pleased to acknowledge Rich’s accomplishments with the 2011 Professional Planner of the Year award.

For more information, contact William J. Van Twisk, Professional Mediator at 721-2629 or mainemediator@comcast.net.

2011 Student Planner of the year Daniel Wallace has focused on food system infrastructure, with particular areas of interest include market penetration, affordability and access, infrastructure development, and advocacy and education.

A former artisan bread baker and green builder, Daniel enrolled in the Community Planning and Development program at the Muskie School to pursue a specific interest in food systems planning. In 2010, Daniel volunteered with the Campaign to Promote Food Security in Cumberland County. Based on this work, he developed an independent GIS-based project to map the food access environment in that county.

The study will help to identify gaps in services, opportunities for collaboration, and potential locations for development of food system infrastructure. Daniel also contributed to a forthcoming article in the Maine Policy Review Journal titled “Maine’s Food System: An Overview and Assessment.” Daniel believes strongly that Maine has the capacity to produce more healthy food for its own people while simultaneously using food as a tool for regional economic development.

MAP hopes to draw attention to this fresh take on another of Maine’s potential competitive advantages by selecting Daniel as 2011 Student Planner of the Year.

For more information, contact Prof. Mark Lapping at the Muskie School of Public Policy (207) 780-4563 or lapping@usm.maine.edu.

The 2011 MAP Awards Selection Committee is comprised of the following municipal planning and community development professionals:

Charles “Tex” Haeuser, City of South Portland
Greg Tansley, City of Biddeford
Anne Krieg, Town of Bar Harbor
Richard “Tony” Levesque, Town Fort Fairfield
James P. Francomano, City of Presque Isle (Committee Chair)

See www.meplan.org for more information about the Maine Association of Planners.

For More Information:

Contact Name: Contact information for each award included in text

Telephone Number: (207)760-2704

Website: http://www.meplan.org

Email: francomano@gmail.com