On December 15, 2015, Friends of Lamoine met with our Comprehensive Planning Committee. A town’s Comprehensive Plan is a document, typically updated every 10 years, which spells out the vision for land use in the near future. It is an important document, used by attorneys, legislators and board members to answer subtle questions about how a town will grow.
In our case, it has a vital function in determining what part Lamoine’s gravel industry will play in the next decade. Based on three recent town votes and the support FOL has received, we presented our vision that our town should focus on the gradual reduction of Lamoine’s gravel industry, as existing pits become depleted.Our presentation highlighted resident-focused concerns as working to protect: 1) the geographical and geological integrity of the town; 2) the aesthetic beauty of this peninsula; 3) the balance of developed and natural places; 4) the quality of life here for residents, small businesses, and visitors.
Each one of these categories were expanded upon and the full document can be read here. We talked about our gravel eskers, native wildlife, scenic views, freshwater pond and aquifer, marine resources and public recreation.
We also pointed out that Lamoine has a vibrant business sector, as many homes serve double duty as businesses, and these many contributors to our economy should figure as significant to Lamoine’s future.
Our primary concern was expressed about Lamoine’s expended pits, which can negatively affect the Town’s future by leaving our peninsula with multiple craters inappropriate for home sites or light-industry businesses due to their steep sides and close proximity to the water table.
We advocated strict enforcement of pit restoration laws and consultation with a professional Land Use Consultant to analyze empty pits and offer solutions and suggestions for reclamation options. We also expressed our concern about zoning changes which might enable the permitting of new pits.
Committee Chair Fred Stocking complimented us for our presentation and told us we were unique in that we seemed to “get it” with respect to what the Comprehensive Planning Committee does. He suggested that we could help by working on the issue of expanding hiking trails in Lamoine, as well as following through on maintaining and expanding our list of Lamoine businesses.
Other points of discussion were researching hard data on the effect the gravel industry has on real estate values and promoting Lamoine as a recreation destination. There was an implied request for FOL to take on these tasks as well.
All in all, it was a productive session. We look forward to a new plan for Lamoine’s future, and helping to develop that plan.