NNECAPA Awards Committee is proud to announce the opening of the 2018 Awards Nominations! Please use the 2018 nomination form and nomination criteria. Deadline for submission is August 3, 2018.


Honor a colleague, student, planning board member, local planning advocate, community planning program or completed plan from anywhere in Maine by submitting a nomination in one of the following categories: 

  • Student Planner of the Year
  • Professional Planner of the Year
  • Citizen Planner of the Year
  • Project or Program of the Year
  • Plan of the Year
In addition to the five annual awards, MAP honors planners that are retiring for a lifetime of service to the profession and to the State of Maine. The process for Lifetime Achievement Awards is separate, but the timeline is the same. The Maine Association of Planners' 2018 call for award nominations is now closed.  Check back in January 2019 for updates on the 2019 awards program. Please contact Jim Fisher for more information.

2018 Awards 

The Maine Association of Planners (MAP) presented its annual awards on June 15, 2018 at L/A Arts in Lewiston during the MAP Annual Meeting.

Citizen Planner of the Year Award: Don Fellows

His nominators note that, "Don Fellows has served as a member of the Town of Lisbon Planning Board since 2009 including three terms as Chair, and was an inaugural member in 2013 of the committee which became established as the Lisbon Development Committee (tasked with implementing several Lisbon plans). Don’s leadership in planning has not only guided the Town’s planning board towards becoming a more professional and forward-thinking committee, but he is one of the key community members to help establish Lisbon’s Development Committee. Don is a true champion for planning, through his valued and respected role on the planning board as well as through his support and promotion for planning at Council and other community meetings, and with residents and community groups." 

Professional Planner of the Year Award: Lynne Seeley

Lynne is a professional, and at the same time serves in the ranks of citizen planners for the Town of Yarmouth. Her nominators note, "Lynne has served as Chair of the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee (CPIC). CPIC was created in 2010 after the Town adopted the Comprehensive Plan. What is remarkable in this document is the extent to which the plan has been realized. Lynne played a leadership role in working to revise and refine the CBDC to create a code that on April 12, 2018 found unanimous support of the Town Council. CPIC provided volunteer support to the Planning Office of the highest professional caliber, not least of which was Lynne herself, a professional planner who has volunteered untold hours to management and leadership of the complex and challenging efforts. Lynne was the glue that held CPIC together – their contributions willingly provided because Lynne made the effort meaningful and rewarding, despite the sometimes difficult patches to be overcome. Lynne’s civic involvement does not end with the Yarmouth community. She is also active at the state level, serving on the Board of GrowSmart Maine and the Maine Association of Planners. She is currently working on research and writing on New Ruralism, with focus on the characteristics and planning for small towns and rural places. Lynne contributes to her town and state, with talent, professional expertise, high energy and a commitment to effective and sincere community engagement.”

Project of the Year Award: Flood Resilience Checklist

The Flood Resilience Checklist is a program led by Abbie Sherwin of the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission  to build awareness of the risks of climate change and the ways that municipalities can prepare. MAP Programs and Projects are works in progress. The Flood Resilience Checklist is an effort to address what is perhaps the greatest challenge confronting the world. The nominators note, "The Maine Flood Resilience Checklist (FRC) is a novel and practical framework and process for municipalities to enhance understanding of local flood and sea level rise impacts, assess vulnerability, and integrate resilience in existing planning and policy efforts to protect communities’ social, economic, and environmental dimensions from coastal flood hazards and changing environmental conditions. The FRC process enabled the City of Saco to move beyond the theory of resiliency toward the practice of resilience by guiding the City to translate an assessment of its community-wide vulnerability to flooding and sea level rise into practical, actionable information to better prepare for existing and future flood hazards. It also provided Saco with valuable information about ways to reduce flood insurance costs for its residents by earning points through FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS)." More information is available at

Plan of the Year Award: South Portland West End Neighborhood Master Plan

This master plan demonstrates the saying that good things come in small packages. The nominators note, "The West End Neighborhood Master Plan goes beyond the traditional neighborhood plan and instead has been a driving force for real-time change, broad community empowerment, and enduring public and private partnerships. This process was more nimble and responsive than many conventional plans –grounded in real-world conditions and market realities. The final document is short, highly visual, and accessible to both the public and professionals. The recommendations are targeted and actionable – written with special concern for long-range consequences, interrelatedness of decisions, and social justice. Soliciting input from those who have historically been left out of the process was foundational to this plan. Strategies included attending community dinners, holding open office hours, conducting one-on-one interviews, and meeting with youth at the community center. To date, the plan has already had many components implemented, and even more recommendations are on the docket for the City of South Portland, local developers, and other partners. Shortly after adoption, the City approved zoning changes to allow for a denser mixed-use center, and Avesta Housing is actively pursuing an affordable housing project under these new regulations."  More information about the West End Master Plan is available at

2017 Awards

The Maine Association of Planners (MAP) presented its annual awards on May 12, 2017 at the Hilton Garden Inn Freeport Downtown during the MAP Annual Meeting and Conference.

Professional Planner of the Year Award: Theo Holtwijk 

Mr. Holtwijk has served as the Director of Long Range Planning and Economic Development for the Town of Falmouth since 2007. From 1997-2007, he served as Brunswick’s Director of Planning and Development. Prior to that, he was the Planning Director of Sanford, Maine as well as the owner of his own Landscape Architecture and Planning firm.  His career has been long and distinguished in both planning practice and in teaching, which has included several years as an adjunct professor at the USM Muskie School for Public Policy. Theo has received many well deserved awards and recognitions. Theo is tireless in his support and promotion of the profession and the practice of planning in Maine. He has been well respected in his community, by other planners, and by employers. His projects are well received by the community, because he works to ensure public engagement and public support, completes his homework and research, and supports his work with facts, knowledge and skill. He is influential and effective in his community and in the professional planning field.

Citizen Planner of the Year Award: Don Russell, Town of Topsham  

Mr. Russell started his career as a citizen planner more than 45 years ago when he joined the Topsham Board of Appeals in 1969. Since then he has served on every conceivable committee and board in Topsham, sometimes multiple times or on several committees concurrently. Over these 45 years, Don has been a major force in helping to shape how Topsham should grow and change. The current Chairman of the Topsham Board of Selectman summarized it as follows: “Don has tirelessly worked to create a town (that) we have chosen as our home, now and in the future. He is always envisioning Topsham in the future through planning with a complete understanding of its past.”

Project of the Year Award: Belfast Rail Trail 

The award was presented to the City of Belfast, the Coastal Mountain Land Trust, and Friends of Belfast Rail Trail and was accepted by Wayne E. Marshall, Belfast City Planner. In fall 2016, the 2.3 mile Belfast Rail Trail officially opened, after nearly 8 years of community effort.  Located on the rail bed of the former Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad, the trail starts at Belfast’s working waterfront and runs along the Passagassawakeag River to the City Point Rail Station, home of the seasonal excursion railroad operated by the Brooks Historical Society. The Rail Trail is the third of three major pedestrian facilities which Belfast has invested in since 2005, all of which are interconnected.  The project involved extensive public participation processes and public planning energy, and involved partnerships with Coastal Mountain Land Trust, local property owners (for easements) and Brooks Historic Preservation (City Point Rail Station). This trail was also made possible through the City’s perseverance in negotiating the use of the rail bed through “rail banking” to preserve future rail use potential.

Plan of the Year Award: “Legacy Lewiston,” Lewiston’s new Comprehensive Plan. 

The Plan was prepared by Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative, LLC. The plan was recognized for how well it engaged the public, including a special effort to make the process accessible for those residents who are normally disengaged in city government, such as college students, youth, and the New Mainer community; and for the inviting, colorful, and engaging manner information was articulated in the final plan. Legacy Lewiston changed the way people in Lewiston relate to the planning of their community. It not only provides an excellent roadmap for where the community is headed, but also engages residents in such a way that hopefully many of them will continue to play an active role in implementing the shared vision for the future of their city in the years to come. The award was accepted by David Hediger, Deputy Director / City Planner. The complete plan can be viewed at

The judging criteria are those used by the American Planning Association (APA) and the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association (NNECAPA) awards programs. Winners will be encouraged to compete for the NNECAPA awards and the national planning (APA) awards. 

MAP Life time Achievement Awards were also presented to Evan Richert, Chuck Lawton, Mark Eyerman, Frank O’Hara, Rodney Lynch (unable to attend), and Tom Martin (unable to attend). 

2016 Awards

Plan of the Year: Falmouth Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, Town of Falmouth

A plan that lays out prioritized recommendations for the next 20 years for non-motorized modes of transportation in the community. The complete plan can be viewed at

Project of the Year: The Rural Business Development Zone, Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) & Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC)

The first collaborative planning effort for the LUPC’s new Community Guided Planning and Zoning (CGPZ) program, to create a new development subdistrict in the unorganized area of Aroostook County.  The D-RB encourages creation of new, and growth of existing, rural businesses in Aroostook County and is available to applicants through a streamlined re-zoning process. The planning group determined where the new zone should be available, and developed a performance-based approach to categorizing and locating different scales and types of rural businesses within the zone, which provides additional flexibility for business owners. More information available at .

History of MAP Awards - Coming Soon!

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