The submission period for 2018 NNECAPA awards is closed. Awards will be announced at the NNECAPA conference in Northport, Maine on October 25.


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 Lifetime Achievement Awards were also presented to:

Evan Richert: Evan began speaking to Maine communities as a young journalist in Brunswick in the 1970’s. After obtaining a degree from the Maxwell School in Syracuse, NY, he began his professional planning career at GPCOG. Working with South Portland, he eventually left GPCOG to work full-time for the City. In 1981, he formed Portland Research and Communications and, shortly thereafter, joined with Mark Eyerman to form Market Decisions, Inc. (MDI). Together the team grew MDI into a premier consulting practice that bridged the gap between public planning and the development community. Anchoring planning, development, and public policy with direct market research and analysis, Evan demonstrated the importance of data in analyzing planning problems and identifying appropriate policies and strategies to address them. In 1996, Evan became Director of the State Planning Office (only the second professional planner to serve in that role) and lead the State and its professional planners in developing a framework to understand and plan for Maine communities, regions and the state. Under his tutelage and using the that bully pulpit, Evan lead the State in a discussion and focus on the cost of sprawl, the importance and unique stresses of service center communities, and the importance of merging lines between land use, the environment, and the economy. He helped precipitate ongoing conversations about planning issues throughout the State from the Capitol to City Halls and neighborhood assemblies. Collaboration among the various sectors of the state – government organizations, chambers, NGOs, and professional associations – came together in unique ways that continue to affect how planners do business in Maine. Reaching out to and inspiring professionals, as well as college and graduate students, Evan has taught at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School for many years. Evan has also contributed to the scholarship of planning. His symposium on the Centennial of Ebenezer Howard's "Garden Cities of Tomorrow," one of the classics in planning history was named the "Honorable Mention" for the "Article of the Year" for the JAPA in 1998. Over the years, Evan has received a number of awards that recognize his contribution to planning. Especially since his time with the State Planning Office, Evan has been the “mind” of planning in Maine. He represents the analytical side of planning, reminding all that planning is immersed in facts, both hard statistics and scientific assessment, as well as in an understanding of cultural and social values, topping those abilities off with the gift of translating complicated analysis in a way that not only informs, but touches the reader’s spirit.

Chuck Lawton: Chuck is an economist with extensive experience in education, government, and business. He specializes in development economics, economic and fiscal impact studies, strategic planning, and industry analysis. For six years, he was a member of the Consensus Economic Forecasting Committee that advised Maine’s Legislature and Governor on economic and revenue forecasting and was a charter member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s New England Public Policy Center Advisory Board. He is currently on the Board of the Maine Center for Creativity and writes a weekly column on economic policy for the Maine Sunday Telegram. Chuck is a former Professor of Economics at the University of Maine at Farmington, Director of Economic Development at the State Planning Office, CFO for Kirsten Scarcelli Co (a woman’s apparel designer/manufacturer/retailer), and most recently Chief Economist at Planning Decisions until its recent closure.

Mark Eyerman: Mark has been planning in Maine since 1975. He began is planning career in Lorain, Ohio as Community Development Director/Planner in 1970 then moved to NH’s Nashua Regional Planning Commission in 1973 then GPCOG in 1975. By 1981, Mark shifted to private consulting and served in that capacity as planner for Westbrook and Gorham. By 1982, he was CEO of Market Decisions, Inc., a leading planning and research firm providing services in community planning, development management, market research, site location studies, consumer and customer research, attitude and image surveys and focus group research. In 1995, as President, Planning Decisions, Inc. was formed and became one of Maine’s most well known and successful private planning practices. With the closure of Planning Decisions in October 2016, Mark’s latest venture is as President of PlanME, LLC where he continues to provide community planning services to Maine municipalities. Mark has been a member of the faculty of the Geography Department at the University of Southern Maine for many years and regularly speaks at a wide variety of workshops and seminars. Mark has been recognized for his contributions to professional planning a number of times, including as MAP and NNECAPA’s 1996 Planner of the Year. Mark is a past President of NNECAPA and MAP.

Frank O’Hara: Frank has been planning in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont for 42 years. Starting as a Housing and Community Development Planner at GPCOG in 1975 and Director of Targeted Jobs Program for the City of Portland in 1980, Frank moved to the state level for 12 years, starting in 1981 with a stint at the State Planning Office, Maine State Housing Authority, and as Governor Brennan’s Special Assistant in 1984. By 1987, Frank was co-owner of Planning Decisions, one of the best known and most prolific planning consulting firm in the state. Frank specialized in strategic planning, housing analysis, community and economic development, workforce development, and public communication. Since 1989, Frank has served as Adjunct Professor at the Muskie School for Public Policy at the University of Southern Maine, teaching community development and public communications. For many years, Frank has been the “voice” of Maine planning, particularly in the areas of affordable housing and effective communication about public policy and analysis. Throughout his career, he engaged the community, inspired and articulated a positive vision for the state, and represented the highest principles of research and policy development.

Rodney Lynch: Rodney has been serving Maine professionally for over 40 years as a regional and municipal planner, town manager, community development director, and planning consultant. Rodney has been a long time member of MAP with decades of experience in capital planning, grant research, writing, and administration. Rodney began his planning career in 1973 as Assistant Planner for Midcoast RPC, then starting in 1976 as Community Planner with AVCOG. In 1978, he served as Principal Planner/Deputy Director of Community Development and Planning in Auburn. Starting in 1985, Rodney moved to town management with first Bethel then Norridgewock. By 1994, Rodney returned to professional planning with the Midcoast RPC and in 1998 to community development for Rockland. He continues to consult with Maine communities today.

Tom Martin: Tom Martin has worked in regional planning commissions in northern New England since 1979. His work has benefited many regions in Maine, but most of all the downeast region as Executive Director of the Hancock County Planning Commission since 1990. His comprehensive plan experience ranges from small, rural towns facing a population decline to rapidly growing resort communities. He has prepared Capital Improvement Programs (CIP's), fiscal impact statements, solid waste management studies, Community Development Block Grant applications and regional studies on housing, land use and transportation. He has organized planning board training workshops. His specialties include housing, federal grant administration, solid waste management and recycling, water quality analysis, coastal zone management, community facility analysis, brownfields, and citizen participation techniques. Tom has amassed a vast compendium of planning documents including more than 50 Community Development Block Grant applications and studies beginning in Caribou in 1980 and continuing to Surry in 2013. He has prepared more than 30 comprehensive plans over the same time-period. His numerous other projects have included transportation, public health, solid waste, brownfields and community development. Under Tom’s leadership, the Hancock County Planning Commission was rescued from near collapse in 1990 to become a vital planning program serving 37 towns. In 2000, HCPC won a national award from the American Planning Association for programs in sustainability. Tom has supported the planning profession with advocacy for planning education, participation in national efforts to support small town and rural planning and other APA programs.

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 .

2015 Awards 

The Maine Association of Planners (MAP) presented its 2015 annual awards on May 21 at the Bates Mill in Lewiston during the Annual MAP Meeting which followed the Build Maine Conference. 

Professional Planner of the Year: Jane LaFleur, Friends of Midcoast Maine

For the last 12 years Ms. LaFleur has been the Executive Director of the Friends of Midcoast Maine (FMM), a non-profit organization that assists Midcoast communities from Brunswick to Bucksport with planning for a vibrant and sustainable future by providing independent expertise in support of smart growth principles. She also currently serves on the Board of GrowSmart Maine. Ms. Lafluer was recognized for her efforts to make planning accessible to anyone who is interested in learning, leading, and improving how we shape our communities. Her outreach to and engagement with community members is exemplified by the recent creation of The Community Institute, a FMM program which brings in nationally recognized experts to blend leadership training, land use policy education and hands-on field work to bring specific planning theories to life for participants. 

Project of the Year: River Landing Senior Housing Community

The award was presented to Developers Collaborative and Seacoast Management and accepted by Kevin Bunker of Developers Collaborative and Matt Teare of Seacoast Management. River Landing is a 36 unit affordable senior housing project on Elm Street in Topsham. This project removed and replaced an empty, deteriorating commercial building with a three-story structure designed to be compatible with the surrounding historic neighborhood. This project was recognized as a culmination of numerous planning efforts to bring a higher density of affordable senior housing into the village area of a suburban town while maintaining the historical context of the neighborhood. 

Plan of the Year: Bold Coast Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan. 

The Plan was prepared by the Washington County Council of Governments (WCCOG) and funded by the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), The Maine Department of Community and Economic Development and the Federal Highway Administration. The plan was recognized for going beyond the minimum requirements of a Scenic Byway plan for this 125-mile route by engaging local, regional, statewide and international stakeholders to build on past planning initiates to merge and integrate the tourism promotion needs of the region with recommendations for public safety, economic development, transportation infrastructure, broadband access and land conservation in a detailed 6-year action plan that was beginning to be implemented before the final plan was completed. The award was accepted by Judy East and Crystal Hitchings of WCCOG. 

History of MAP Awards - Coming Soon!

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