Comp Plan Minutes: 7/17/19 (Neighborhoods and Residential Areas)

AUGUSTA COMPREHENSIVE PLAN COMMITTEE

MINUTES

Eleventh Meeting – Residential Neighborhoods

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 6pm

Fort Western Learning Gallery at City Center

Meeting called to order at 6:03pm.

In attendance: Kevin Lind, Brad Sawyer, Duane Scott, Matt Nazar, Bob Corey, Lori LaRochelle, Mark O’Brien, Pat Paradis, Stan Koski, Roberta Record, Sammee Quong, Wayne Emington, Kalie Hess, Linda Conti, and Heather Pouliot.

Welcome remarks and committee introductions:

Members of the public are welcome to share their ideas regarding the future of the city as it relates to residential living and quality of life in our neighborhoods and community. 

Overview of the 2007 comprehensive plan as it relates to residential neighborhoods in Augusta by Matt Nazar:

  • The current plan talks about making it easier to walk places and between neighborhoods.
  • Need to protect against commercial development.
  • Speaks a lot about neighborhoods in the future land use section.
  • 1/3rd of the city is designated for growth.
  • Urban residential development.
  • Trails to connect to the neighborhoods.
  • Small neighborhood parks are encouraged.
  • 80/20 is ration of growth area vs. rural.
  • Cluster residential is encouraged in rural areas.
  • Important to create and maintain a mixture of development.
  • Quality of housing was a concern – code enforcement.
  • City has some promising housing developments in the works – 41-unit affordable age-restricted on Civic Center Drive; 250-unit workforce housing on property next to Elks Lodge.
  • City has seen new developments since the current plan – Hodgkins, Cony Flatiron, Maple Street, Windy Street, Fieldstone, Cony Village, and downtown.

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

Patrick Paradis, resident of Northern Avenue, former city councilor: Franco-American heritage is important; many families moved here to work at the mill; I-95 forever changed development; he is seeing a lot of absentee landlords in the city; there are close residential properties on the hill; the neighborhood is deteriorating; especially as the older residents leave; who do we want to be replacing these homes?; how do we protect and get that sense of neighborhood back?; Planning Board has a big role in protecting neighborhoods; neighborhood pools help with a sense of neighborhood; downtown is moving forward but north of the lights is a challenge; 100% believes that the Augusta Police Station should be moved to downtown Augusta at the old Apgar property; this area of the city needs a jumpstart and this would be a major development; use the abandoned trestle for a pedestrian path across the river; the council is considering removing it.

Linda Conti, resident of Westside neighborhood, Ward 1 city councilor: the city has seen higher selling prices for homes in the historic westside neighborhood; this could be as a result of the historic ordinance; it is important that we strictly enforce the historic neighborhood; Sewall Street and Old Winthrop Street should not be the “connector” streets; need to reduce traffic; parking is an issue, but tearing down buildings is not the answer; understand the need to accommodate events and business traffic, but this can be done without having to make more parking spots; consider one-way streets in the westside neighborhood to allow for on-street parking; we need better communication for parking – what’s available, what’s restricted.

Wayne Emington, resident of Hicks Road: should consider a survey of the residents and ask how many live within a mile of essential services, and if so, would they walk to them?; improve pedestrian-level signage.

Mary Owen, westside neighborhood: need to speak highly of the city and improve our website; use it as a means to highlight great things happening; get information out to the people; we need to invest in getting younger people to move here; need to show them why they should; the city needs a public relations person.

Mark O’Brien, resident of Willow Street and At-Large city councilor: a common complaint is the speed in neighborhoods; traffic calming measures are important; schools were always important to neighborhoods; busing has increased though; and please keep in mind the different needs and circumstances of each neighborhood in the city.

Kalie Hess, resident of Hicks Road: concept of livable neighborhoods; try to keep parks and public ways clean; first impressions are very important; otherwise people may not go back; consider safe and affordable housing development; pay attention to the needs of all city residents; embrace ways to help other and not ignore; let’s get them the resources they need; keep in mind that our schools are an asset to the neighborhoods.

Roberta Record, westside neighborhood: watch the recent council meeting for what the westside neighborhood would like to see happen.

Committee discussion on residential neighborhoods, and other related items:

Lori: we need to address parking for families; kids with cars; and the city should look into decorative parking garages.

Duane: the age-friendly action plan has inventory of the city; and our vision for public transit needs to be robust.

Other committee matters:

None.

Next meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 5, 2019 at 6pm in the Old Fort Western Lecture Gallery. The focus of the public hearing will be on green initiatives, parks and recreation, and recycling. 

Adjourned.

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