Comp Plan Minutes: 1/14/19 (public hearing)

AUGUSTA COMPREHENSIVE PLAN COMMITTEE

MINUTES

Second Meeting – Public Hearing

Monday, January 14, 2019 at 6pm

Cony High School

Called to order at 6:03pm

In Attendance: Duane Scott, Kim Silsby, Karen Foster, Heather Pouliot, Kevin Lind, Brad Sawyer, Jon Silverman, Lori Larochelle, Justin Frank, Vincent Morris (APD), Matt Nazar, Ed Hastings, Delaine Nye, Kirsten Brewer, Stanley Koski, Joshua Hasbrouek, Mark O’Brien, Wayne Emington, Sammee Quong, Raegan LaRochelle, Rex Turner, Roberta Record.

Welcome remarks and committee introductions:

  • The Augusta Comprehensive Plan Committee will meet at Cony High School. Members of the public are welcome to share their idea regarding the future of the any aspect of the city that is of interest. A portion of the meeting will be dedicated to listening to the public.

Review of 2007 Comprehensive Plan Inventory (Volume 2 of the plan) led by Matt Nazar:

Geography:

Population:

  • 1970: 21,945 (peak)
  • 2000: 18,560
  • 2010: 19,136
  • The city experiences a very large influx of population during the day.
  • There are over 27,000 jobs in the city with a daytime population of 35k-50k.

Transportation/infrastructure:

  • Hub and spoke appearance for Augusta’s main highways is unique.
  • Relocation of the hospital from downtown to northwest part of the city was a major change in traffic.
  • Downtown will convert to two-way, which will be a big change in traffic pattern.
  • The third bridge was not open at the time of the 2007 comp plan.
  • The northwest development is a major change since 2007.
  • The city has many pedestrian paths and sidewalks.
  • The city has less infrastructure for bicycle traffic.
  • There has been an increased concern of pedestrian safety.

Economic Development:

  • 70% of the residents work within the city, 2010 census.
  • Changes since 2007 plan include: downtown; Augusta Crossing; Commerce Center.

Housing:

  • Increase in housing stock since recession.
  • Traditionally old housing stock, however, it has improved over the years.
  • Need more affordable housing.
  • For owning a home, the median income is enough to pay for a median house.
  • For renting, it is still not affordable.
  • New developments since 2007: Cony Flatiron; Hodgkins; Maple Street; Fieldstone; Cony Village; WIndy and Glen Street; downtown.
  • Median home was $125k in 2007.
  • Downtown housing is market rate.

State Government/Non profits:

  • Not on tax rolls
  • New additions: Bond Brook and Howard Hill recreational trails/land.

Education:

  • New Mainer population increase.
  • No single middle school – now at Cony.
  • No longer neighborhood school plan – board is considering a school system based on grades.
  • Major changes in behavioral programs – special needs is 20% of the population.
  • Future of Hussey School? We are on the state list for new construction.
  • School safety – emergency shelter.
  • Economically disadvantaged – poverty.
  • Partnering with UMA.
  • Child development Services for ages 3-5.

Outline and structure of the plan and areas that must be addressed per state law brainstorming of issues within those areas that the subcommittee believes are important to Augusta’s future:

  • Recreational opportunities – young to old.
  • Age-friendly action plan.
  • Transportation – rail – bus – roundabouts – state action plan.
  • Housing and development.
  • Social.
  • Communication/information.
  • Land use – taking advantage of opportunities and locations around the city.
  • Better define when to redevelop – residential vs. commercial.
    • Downtown is a good example.
    • How to mix both in the city to thrive – NIMBY.
  • Education/schools.
  • Neglected buildings.
  • Pedestrian-friendly.
  • Neighborhoods.
  • Culture/arts.
  • Public safety.
  • Adult-use marijuana in the city.
  • Volunteerism.

Public opportunity to identify concerns/suggestions that they want addressed within the comprehensive plan:

  • Delaine Nye – don’t forget the senior citizens; rail service is a great idea.
  • Stan Koski – pursue passenger rail.
  • Rex Turner – outdoor recreational opportunities; state is doing an outdoor comp plan that might work with our plan.
  • Wayne Emington, 12 Hicks Road: walkable schools; reuse of the state office buildings; improve the city’s website; curbside recycling; green city; pedestrian safety.
  • Delaine Nye – environment and recycling; green community; plastic bag ban or fee.
  • Mark O’Brien – economic development; Riggs Brooks; eastside riverfront; rail service; pro sports team; city co-manage the CARA fields; Kennebec Arsenal.
  • Kirsten Brewer – pedestrian and bicycle safety; encourage people to live here in additon to working.
  • Delaine Nye – opioid issue; stepdown facility by the state.

Other committee matters:

  • Suggestion: when the comp plan is done, make sure there is a ‘layman’s version’ to use for marketing and public awareness.

Next meeting:

  • Monday, February 4, 2019 at 6pm at City Center.

Adjourned at 8:26pm.

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