Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By Betty Adams email@example.com
BELGRADE — Shoreland restrictions may be extended to include streams and creeks in a draft copy of the town’s comprehensive plan.
Residents and the Board of Selectpersons will get an overview of the draft 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Center for All Seasons.
One of the priorities of the draft plan is “to strengthen regulatory protections by extending shoreland zoning to include all areas within 75 feet of all perennial streams.”
Shoreland has not always been considered streamside, said Kathi Wall, who heads the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committe.
For example, “A creek or stream running through a particular person’s pasture can be pooped in by all the cows and horses even though the stream runs into a pond or a lake, and it’s not a legal problem even though it’s an environmental problem.”
Wall encouraged residents to attend Tuesday’s the meeting.
“Democracy is based upon an educated voting public,” Wall said on Sunday. “They need to know in order to vote. They need to be educated about what is contained in the comprehensive plan.”
The draft, with any revisions deemed necessary, will then go to the state to see whether it meets all the requirements.
If it does, plans call for a formal public hearing in late January or early February and then it would be up to Belgrade voters to adopt.
The draft document, 260 pages long, sets out a long range plan for the development of the town, which is described as “a $3 million business and growing.” The town had a 2012 population estimate of 3,226 and covers about 58 square miles comprising three sections: the Depot, Belgrade Lakes village and North Belgrade.
“I think the comprehensive plan really needs to be a road map for a community,” Wall said.
The draft document is available at the Town Office.
Chris Huck, planning director with the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, assisted the committees and subcommittees working on the update. Work to update the town’s 1998 Comprehensive Plan began in April 2012.
“To know where we are going as a community and as a culture is the only way in which we can preserve what we love and change things that interfere with getting where we want to go,” the executive summary notes.
It also says, “Moderate growth is desirable and unavoidable, but it should be managed to prevent sudden events and creeping change which can undermine the town's core values.”
Other priorities of the draft plan laid out in the executive summary:
• Protect the quality of Belgrade’s lakes by making sure that all development and land use activities do their fair share to limit phosphorous impacts on the lake from sources including stormwater runoff, erosion and septic systems.
• Conserve and enhance the traditional character of our village and rural areas by ensuring that new development complements existing style, density, setbacks etc.
• Encourage economic growth and development to maintain a strong local economy and property tax base that is consistent with the town’s character and compatible with maintaining the qualities of our lakes and lands.
• Minimize the future costs of municipal services by limiting sprawl, strip development and fragmentation of open space.
Betty Adams — 621-5631