• 03 Mar 2018 5:35 AM | Maine Association of Planners (Administrator)

    I prepared the following brief analysis for MAP's winter meeting in January 2018. My new position prevented my attending the meeting. For the sake of others unable to attend, I present the following snapshot of MAP’s membership.

    Last Renewed

    While MAP has about 129 planners in our database, only 70 ar
    current in their dues. Another 18 appear to be poised to renew or join for the first time, but have not provided their dues. Approximately 41 former members have lapsed for more than a year. I recently trimmed about 20 past members that were more than four years overdue on payment. I don’t know when MAP reached peak members, but I believe we had more than 100 active members about a decade ago. We are not growing.

    Membership Level

    We offer two membership levels. The overwhelming majority of current and not-too-far past members are professional planners. If you have one or more planning board members that wants to understand planning from a new light, by all mean sign them up to be MAP members.

    Employment Sector

    The large majority of current and recent members are in the public sector. Some members did not specify, and of these some are students, retirees and municipal members.


    Our years of experience profile is pretty even, indicating a stable or possibly stagnant job market. The oldest two categories are MAP boomers. It is good to see that the less than 10 years of experience category balances the >40 cohort. This is not the case in the general population which is older. 


    MAP members are distributed much like Maine’s population, with the biggest concentration in greater Portland. There is a remarkable falling off the edge of this flat earth as you cross Route 1A between Bangor and Bar Harbor. After that there be Judy and Ken. We have a handful of out-of-staters for reasons I cannot hazard a guess. Perhaps it’s chain migration.


    Membership has, at times, stood over 100.  MAP would be stronger with 100+ active, paid members now.  We operate on a shoestring in good times. Smaller numbers futher limits our options.

    There are likely to be more than enough planners in Maine, but many have discontinued paying dues while others have never joined.  We are competing with many other dues-based memberships.

    It is difficult to see how MAP can offer “private” or “member only benefits” and remain visible enough to attract additional members. We are appealing to a more altruistic basis for paying dues, which works well with some and is ignored by many. Free-riding is an easy choice in our case.

    Of our larger list of 129 persons, 51 noted membership in APA/NNECAPA. Under-reporting is likely. We don’t know how consolidation with other northern New England states and NNECAPA would affect our small network in Maine. That is a matter of discussion in the coming year.

    In the mean time, members that renew in April and May will be good to go for MAP’s 2018-2019 fiscal year. Please show your support and stay in touch. If you have questions, contact Jim Fisher at jimfisher101@gmail.com.

    --Jim Fisher, Deer Isle Town Manager, MAP Board Member and Membership Secretary

  • 03 Mar 2018 5:01 AM | Maine Association of Planners (Administrator)

    With every edition of Front Page, MAP highlights the "comings and goings" of planners through Bytes 'N Pieces.

    • Ben Averill has been hired as Bath’s City Planner. Ben comes to Bath from an Economic Development role in Auburn. Prior to his time in Auburn, Ben served as the Town Planner in Wiscasset. Andrew Deci is the Director of Planning & Development for the City, overseeing Ben, long-range planning, and economic development activities. More here.
    • Anna Breinich has resigned as Brunswick’s Director of Planning and Development effective December 31, 2017 after 10 years of service.
    • Ethan Croce is now Community Development Director for the Town of Falmouth. More here.
    • Dawn Emerson is now Land Use Planner for the Town of Falmouth. More here.
    • Carl Eppich is joining Milone & MacBroom Inc. as Lead Transportation Planner covering Maine, NH, and VT and southern New England.
    • Jim Fisher named the first Town Manager for Deer Isle. More here.
    • Jamie Francomano is now Executive Director of Mid-Coast Regional Planning Commission (MCRPC), serving the needs of Knox and Waldo County municipalities for planning and community development services. More here.
    • Anne Krieg has been hired by Hancock County Planning Commission (HCPC) as Regional Planner. More here.
    • City of Lewiston received Maine’s first Choice Neighborhood grant. The planning and action grant will focus on the Tree Street Neighborhoods, developing a transformation plan, and also implementing early action items to help get the work started. More here.
    • Jeremy Martin, currently with the City of Bangor, will start a new position as Planning and Development Director for the City of Camden on March 19. More here
    • Amanda Stearns is now Open Space Manager for the Town of Falmouth. More here.

    Do you have planning news to share? Email us at info@meplan.org to be included in the next edition of Bytes N Pieces.

  • 25 Feb 2018 6:26 AM | Maine Association of Planners (Administrator)
    GrowSmart Maine and the Maine Farmland Trust co-hosted a forum on Thursday, January 18 on Growing Farm-Friendly Communities.

    Maine’s food system and local food movement are growing and provide unique economic and community development opportunities in rural and suburban areas. During the forum, community and municipal leaders shared policy approaches and practical ideas for communities and farmers to work together. Attendees learned about ways communities can welcome and retain small agricultural businesses.

    Stephanie Gilbert, Farm Viability & Farmland Protection Specialist with the Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation, & Forestry moderated the panel discussion, which featured: 

    • Bud Benson, Town Planner, Town of Standish 
    • Mark Hews, President, M. E. Hews and Company, LLC 
    • Rod Melanson, Planning Director, Town of Topsham 
    • Kate Newkirk, Co-Chair, Town of Winslow Agriculture Commission 
    • Matt Randall, Agricultural Compliance Supervisor, DACF 
    See a recording of the session here: https://vimeo.com/252893286

    A second verion of the panel will be held on March 14 in Bowdoinham, co-hosted by GrowSmart Maine and Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative in partnership with Maine Farmland Trust. More info

    Related Resources 

    GrowSmart Maine Educational Brief on Farm Friendly Communities – 2 page resource with additional matrix outlining current policies & support tools in towns & cities across Maine. 

    Maine Farmland Trust’s Municipal Policy Website – Resource hub for citizens and municipal leaders looking for example ordinances, comp plans, and community engagement tools to boost their town’s farm friendly status. 

    The Value of Farms, Monetary & Beyond – Natural Resources Economist Rachel Bouvier shares the economic benefits of farmland & working farms for Maine communities in this GrowSmart Maine blog post. 

    Guide to Cultivating Maine’s Agricultural Future – Created by Maine Farmland Trust and the American Farmland Trust; full of helpful information for citizens and municipalities. 

    Farm Friendly Community Checklist & Survey – Use this tool from Maine Farmland Trust to determine if your town is farm friendly. 

    Town of Topsham Local Food Systems Case Study – Learn how agricultural heritage, local partnerships, and local government leadership combine to advance local food in Topsham.

  • 25 Feb 2018 6:07 AM | Maine Association of Planners (Administrator)
    The Blueprint: Following recommendations from the City of Auburn’s 2010 Comprehensive Plan and the 2014 New Auburn Village Center Plan, to “encourage new development or modifications to existing buildings to occur in a manner that reflects key elements of the traditional downtown development pattern”; Auburn made the commitment to implement a Form Based Code (FBC).

    Starting in 2014, the City Planning Staff and the Auburn Planning Board worked over a two year period and developed a simple, easy to understand and administrate FBC for close to 100 acres of Downtown Auburn and New Auburn. The Auburn City Council adopted the FBC in May of 2016--see more on the city's website

    Nuts and Bolts: Initially, staff made a careful evaluation (calibration) of the downtown’s physical, historical and architectural character and arrived at five character-based types (transects); two Traditional Neighborhood types, two Traditional Downtown types and a Downtown Core type. Each transect or district description in the adopted zoning ordinance contains sections on: Intent and Purpose, Characteristic Features and Pictorial examples, Building Placement and Configuration (by graphics), Building Frontage Types and External Elements. Much thought and deliberation was put into the level of detail and site elements to be regulated. The overall emphasis was on building form, simplicity of design elements, regulating what is most important in the end product and avoiding things like street design, landscaping, lighting and building materials. 

    For more information on how to bring Form Based Code to your community see the Auburn FBC Case Study Presentation.

    Making It Run: Almost as much time was spent on how to administrate the Form Based Code in a way that would be understandable but flexible. 

    Some highlights are: 

    • Projects under 12,000 s.f. can go directly to a building permit if all the requirements are met 
    • The Planning Board can waive elements of the FBC requirements provided justification is made and the project still meets the intent
    • Allowable uses are generally more flexible than traditional zoning and parking requirements were lowered 
    Success To Date: New developments are underway with more under consideration.
    • 62 Spring Street: A new 4 stories, mixed use with 41 work force and market rate apartment units is now under construction. 
    • 48 Hampshire Street: A 53 unit work force and market rate apartment has been approved and is applying for Low Income Housing Tax Credits and could begin construction in 2019. 

    Form Based Code Files:

    --Douglas M. Greene, AICP, RLA, Urban Development Coordinator, City of Auburn
  • 25 Feb 2018 5:50 AM | Maine Association of Planners (Administrator)

    The Maine Association of Planners is proud to represent planners and others involved in planning across this great state. One of the best contributions we can make to support planning is to connect and support our professional planning community. 

    Maine is a big state and the planning community is a busy bunch. The Planner Profiles series gives us a chance to meet each other and learn about our skills, interests, and experiences online.

    Meet Samantha Horn-Olsen, Planning Manager, State of Maine Land Use Planning Commission:


    11 years


    Planning Manager, Land Use Planning Commission


    I have lived in many states, and did my undergraduate work in Biology and English Literature at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. After field jobs out west, interests in science, people and decision-making led me to a Master’s program in the Human Dimensions of Fisheries and Wildlife, and subsequent professional positions that all focused around improving public decision-making in public policy. I came to Maine in 1999 to work for Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and have been here since, living first in Bowdoinham and then Readfield.


    Planning in the unorganized territories is very much about a healthy relationship between people, economy, community and natural resources. When I had the chance to move from aquaculture policy to a rural planning role in 2008, it seemed like a natural next step.


    Planning and permitting for the unorganized territories (which comprise half the state) require attention to such a varied set of geographies and cultural and economic norms that it is a unique policy puzzle that is important both to the local residents, and to the overall state economy and identity. The areas we serve include coastal islands such as Monhegan, the “big woods”, the farms of The County and the blueberry barrens Downeast, and the recreational hubs of the western mountains and the Moosehead area. It is never dull!


    Working with engaged and thoughtful residents, landowners, and stakeholders to design creative policy solutions that will actually work across the entire 10.4 million acres. It is an intellectual challenge that is made meaningful by the incredible commitment and creativity of the folks with whom we collaborate.


    Making sure that, with a staff of 20 for planning, permitting, and code enforcement, we can tackle all of the issues and large projects that need attention while still providing excellent service to someone who wants to construct a camp, or even just a deck or shed.


    The rural areas in Maine are undergoing an economic sea change. It would be rewarding to be able to spend more time looking at the specific factors that may lead to success in this transition. To the degree that there are viable business ideas out there, we would like to anticipate the need and enact proactive land use solutions that provide a “glide path” for economic growth while also protecting the natural resources and local character that fuel the desirability and identity of the state.


    Natural resource policy, conflict resolution, rural planning issues, public process, and consensus building.

  • 25 Feb 2018 5:30 AM | Maine Association of Planners (Administrator)
    The Board continues to review how we conduct business and what we might want to focus on to make MAP an organization that can better provide for professional and citizen planners. With that in mind, the Board has focused its efforts this year on the NNECAPA Conference/50th Anniversary, membership, finance, awards, and communications.

    Amanda Bunker, Professional Development chair, is spearheading the NNECAPA Conference/50th Anniversary planning effort. She has gathered a small group of volunteers to assist in this process. This is a large undertaking and a big focus of the entire Board this year. Mark your calendars for October 24-26, 2018 in Point Lookout, Maine.

    Lynne Seeley, Vice President and Communications Chair, is crafting newsletters with our consultant, Caitlyn that are gathering attention of an audience that includes New Yorkers and Planetizen readers. Way to go! 

    Jim Fisher, Membership and Awards Committee Chair, is in the process of whittling the membership database to those people who are actually members. Through this process, we will get a better idea of who our members are and where they live and work. See Jim's update on membership here. Jim also is working to renovate the awards process so that it is easier to nominate. The nomination period for 2018 awards is open, and volunteers are needed to help with the selection process--check out the details on the Awards page

    Jane Lafleur, Treasurer, is working with me to write a financial policy that will hopefully bring clarity to a process that is run by volunteers and when those volunteers shift roles. She is also working with our bookkeeper, Kathy Cirillo, to organize and keep track of our finances more closely and provide monthly reports. 

    We are going to be saying goodbye to a few Board members this year, so if you would like to be of service to the planning community in this way, please email me at ceyerman@topshammaine.com

    Here’s to 2018 and thank you for the support! 


    Carol Eyerman, AICP 

    MAP President 

    PS: If you want us to decide everything, then by all means sit on the sidelines. If not, join one of the committees or volunteer for the short projects, we would love to hear from you.

  • 17 Nov 2017 10:00 PM | Maine Association of Planners (Administrator)

    On November 3rd, Sarah Marchant, president, NNECAPA and Carol Eyerman, president, MAP hosted a meeting to review the ideas for reorganization of NNECAPA and the state associations. Sarah went through the events leading up to the meeting and described what the tri-state taskforce had worked on and recommended so far. For more on this, please review the white paper.

    During the November 3rd meeting, responses to the white paper via email were read and the group gathered in person held discussion about the following: different options for chapter reorganization, geography, funding/budgeting, membership fees, state autonomy, bylaws, social media, newsletter(s), workload, volunteerism, and next steps. Detailed notes are available here.

    Essentially, all in attendance and via email leaned toward option 3, which is to move toward a model where NNECAPA is the chapter and each state is represented as a regional section. Next steps include: update the white paper and include a timeline, draft bylaws, taskforce review, and run all be general membership of all organizations. 

    Carol Eyerman, AICP

    MAP President/Interim Treasurer

    NNECAPA Maine State Director

  • 28 Oct 2017 12:36 PM | Maine Association of Planners (Administrator)
    With every edition of Front Page, MAP highlights the "comings and goings" of planners through Bytes 'N Pieces.
    • Sean Gambrel has joined the City of Bangor’s Planning Department as a Planner & Historic Preservationist. Sean previously worked with the City as GIS Administrator and is excited to be back in the planning field after several years focused solely on GIS. 
    • City of Rockland community and economic development director/ acting city manager Audra Calder-Bell resigned to take the job of Town Manager in Camden, Maine. 
    • Jamel Torres joined the Town of Scarborough's planning department. 
    • Jen Boothroyd has departed HCPC and is now working for Eastern Maine Health Systems in Brewer.
    • The Bethel Area Age Friendly Initiative received $5,100 for a fall prevention and home safety program for seniors through AARP. 
    • The Orton Family Foundation and JB Lafleur Consultants (Jane Lafleur) are joining together to Grow Community Heart & Soul in Maine. Over the coming year, Lafleur and the Orton Family Foundation staff will be working together to launch a three-pronged strategy to Grow Community Heart & Soul in Maine. This strategy includes: 1) outreach to Maine’s towns and small cities through a series of regional outreach workshops, in collaboration with regional partners; 2) the creation of additional Heart & Soul training curricula focused on “Getting Ready for Community Heart & Soul”; and, 3) direct Community Heart & Soul coaching in towns. Lafleur will continue to coach those already in-process (the 4 towns making up the Mahoosucs Region, and Bucksport and Rockland as well as several new communities). We have already received initial interest from two regions to host these outreach workshops and we look forward to hearing from more regions and communities who would like to host an informational session and possibly host follow up “Getting Ready for Community Heart & Soul” follow-up sessions. If you would like further information, please contact Jane Lafleur at jblafleur@jblafleurconsultants.com or call (207) 691-0971.
    Do you have planning news to share with Maine planners? Email info@meplan.org to be included in our next edition of Bytes N Pieces.
  • 28 Oct 2017 12:03 PM | Maine Association of Planners (Administrator)
    "Engaging the Community for Stronger Economies, Healthier Places" with keynote speaker Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Ph.D., executive director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) was held in Brunswick on September 14. Dr. Lukensmeyer kicked off the day-long workshop with reflections on the state of civility today. Weber Shandwick, a large media/communications firm, has done a Survey on Civility in the U.S. every year for the past seven years. When they did the survey near the end of 2016 they found that 75% of Americans say that incivility in the country is now at a crisis stage. NICD launched an initiative to revive civility, encouraging residents and policy makers nationwide to commit to civility. Dr. Lukensmeyer announced that Maine is one of four states where NICD is focusing resources, with more to come in 2018.

    A panel session followed the keynote, highlighting Maine-based civic engagement initiatives with Anne Ball of the Maine Downtown Center, Tara Hill from Maine Cancer Foundation, Nancy Smith of GrowSmart Maine, and Jane Lafleur, principal of JBLafleur Consultants. Each described the program they work with to engage community members or constituencies. They were respectively the Maine Main Street Program, Collective Impact, Making Headway in Your Community and coaching Community Heart & Soul.

    The afternoon was filled with interactive learning stations, focused on introducing practical tools for civic engagement:

    • Ayumi Horie, a Portland-based artist engaged participants in conversation about how art can create deeper connections to place and bridge differences. She shared examples of three collaborative projects, including Portland Brick, a collaborative public art project where city sidewalks were repaired with bricks made from local clay and stamped with past, contemporary, and future memories of Portland. 
    • Kate Howe of Better Yet Studios demonstrated tools for
    •  creating creative, participatory brand experiences. 
    • Addy Smith-Reiman introduced The Complete City, a mapping project of Portland Society for Architecture (PSA). Through The Complete City, PSA distributed 5,000 maps to Portland citizens, inviting them to draw what they love--and don’t love--about Portland, and to describe what they wish were different and want to see happen in our city. All of the maps were uploaded to the PSA website, and a curated selection of submissions was featured at SPACE Gallery. The project helped to highlight and elicit discussion from residents about the challenges and opportunities of growth in Portland. 
    • Alex Denniston provided a mini-workshop on Design Thinking as a tool for creative problem solving. Design Thinking begins with conversation and empathetic listening to understand people’s needs and identify solutions to tough problems. Round table participants experimented with the approach by designing the perfect vacation for a fellow attendee. The approach can be used to address much larger and messier challenges faced by planners. 
    • Three staff from Orton Family Foundation offered sessions about engagement. Sara Lightner discussed the challenge of listening bias when collecting and analyzing stories from residents. Sara provided insight on how we can strive to be objective listeners without letting our own bias, thoughts, or opinions affect how we interpret a story. Leslie Wright provided practical tips for working with the media to spread the word about community engagement activities. One takeaway—it is okay to say “I’m busy now, can I call you back?” in response to a reporter so you can prepare comments and organize your thoughts. Caitlyn Davison introduced Community Network Analysis, a tool for planning outreach and engagement activities in a way that ensures all residents have the opportunity to get involved. 
    • Developer Mike Lyne led a mobile workshop to discuss the engagement challenges and successes to develop Brunswick Station, a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use development and the adjacent Amtrak station. 
    • Two communities that are using the Orton Family Foundation’s Community Heart & Soul model for community development shared ideas for low-tech engagement methods, from beer coasters to block parties. These were Mahoosuc Heart & Soul (Bethel, Newry, Woodstock and Greenwood) and Bucksport Heart & Soul
    • Dana Rae Warren demonstrated techniques for interviewing for storytelling. 
    The day closed with an exciting announcement and opportunity for Maine towns. Orton Family Foundation and JB Lafleur Consultants (Jane Lafleur) are joining together to Grow Community Heart & Soul in Maine. Over the coming year, Lafleur and the Orton Family Foundation staff will be working together to launch a three-pronged strategy to Grow Community Heart & Soul in Maine. This strategy includes outreach to Maine’s towns and small cities through a series of regional outreach workshops, in collaboration with regional partners; the creation of additional Heart & Soul training curricula focused on “Getting Ready for Community Heart & Soul”; and direct Community Heart & Soul coaching in towns. 

    The Community Institute demonstrated that there is incredible creativity in Maine when it comes to civic engagement, and that there are many resources for planners to tap into when thinking about how to engage residents.

    --Caitlyn Davison, associate, Orton Family Foundation

  • 26 Oct 2017 2:26 PM | Maine Association of Planners (Administrator)
    Sea-level rise, greater frequency and severity of coastal storms and ongoing pressure for real estate development in flood-prone locations have raised the stakes for coastal planning. Recent disasters in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico suggest that the flood insurance program is not sustainable and Flood Insurance Risk Maps may give many residents and businesses a false sense of security.

    The Maine Coastal Program has published a planning tool called the Flood Resilience Checklist that leads municipal governments through a series of considerations for preparedness, response and recovery. Municipalities that complete the process will have a much better idea of what they can do to become more resilient. The process can reveal steps to earning points in the Community Rating System, thereby reducing flood insurance costs.

    Considerations fall into five categories: Risk and Vulnerability, Critical Infrastructure and Facilities, Community Planning, Social and Economic Vulnerability and the Natural Environment. Checklist formatted questions are primarily yes/no, though in many cases the underlying facts are more complex. Municipalities may have detailed information and plans for high priority locations and nothing for other areas. Plans may exist, but are obsolete, inadequate or incomplete.

    The process is at least as important as the product. Planners need to assemble a municipal team that includes emergency responders, public works, community leaders and residents. Ideally the team will be enabled to address gaps that they uncover. Improved information sharing, prioritization of action items, integration of plans and other benefits can ensue.

    This tool is available online as a PDF. HCPC has created a spreadsheet with the same questions to facilitate for data entry and analysis. 

    If you are interested in applying the Flood Resilience Checklist to your community or would like to learn more, please contact your Regional Planning Organization or Maine Coastal Program: Peter.A.Slovinsky@maine.gov or (207) 287-7173. You can also download a one page information sheet about the checklist here.

    --Jim Fisher, PhD, MRP, AICP 

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