Lamoine’s Comprehensive Planning Committee held a community meeting at the school on Saturday, March 19 in which 60 or so Lamoiners attended, in addition to the 10 or so facilitators. The purpose of the meeting was to gather the many visions of Lamoine’s future from Lamoine citizens in the crafting of the Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan will guide policy in Lamoine for the next 10-15 years. Our current plan is 20 years old and in need of replacement, according to state law.
Chairman Fred Stocking presented a slide show on the results of a survey sent out September and October 2015. Of the 760 surveys sent out, only 27% were returned, casting doubt on the data as truly representative of all Lamoiners. The 2010 census says Lamoine should have a population of 26% over 60 years of age, yet the graph shows well over 50% of survey respondents are over 60. The graphs below show responses to a variety of questions:
Another question about water quality protection had an almost identical graph. After the survey presentation we were all assigned one of seven groups to join, most facilitated by a Comprehensive Plan Board member. Our first task was to write three major issues facing Lamoine in the future, each on a piece of paper. These were placed in groups of similar issues on a larger paper and presented to the recombined groups at the front of the gym. Then the groups went back to their tables and were asked to write three heartfelt wishes for Lamoine’s future. Again, the papers were placed in similar groupings and shown to all.
We were then asked as a large group to summarize the main themes we felt the exercise revealed. Lamoiners felt the new Comprehensive Plan should strive to:
- Improve social cohesion and build a greater sense of community.
- Ensure protection and conservation of natural resources.
- Encourage a balance of residential and compatible commercial land use.
- Achieve a better balance of ages and demographics in the community.
There were many sub topics under each of these four main themes. Surprisingly, the gravel mining issue was mentioned mostly in the need for pit restoration. It appears Lamoiners are already looking at the gravel era as being in the past.
Affordable housing was recognized as important both for young families and the aged. Young families are necessary to keep our school, a requirement for #1, as well as helping to achieve #4. Cluster housing was mentioned as a way to increase affordability.
Lamoine’s natural beauty was recognized as very important, and is the main reason people choose to live here. Protecting and improving this resource and the rural aspect of town was a concern of all. Wildlife corridors, gravel pit restoration, hiking trails and public shore access were all mentioned.
With the meeting’s results including an emphasis on building community, it was obvious that Lamoiners wish to find new ways to interact and achieve consensus in the years to come. Many expressed desire for a community center where people could congregate, while others called for greater use of the school for this. With the morning’s emphasis on articulating issues facing us rather than on proposing solutions, not many innovative proposals were generated, nor were asked for, in the second session which asked for our vision for Lamoine in years to come. The morning provided the Comprehensive Plan Committee with valuable input from residents but indicated hard work lies ahead for all Lamoiners in conceiving, articulating and implementing solutions to the issues facing us.