Talk of the Towns 2/8/23: The Importance of Comprehensive Planning

Producer/Hosts: Ron Beard and Liz Graves
Theme music for Talk of the Towns Theme music for Talk of the Towns is a medley from Coronach, on a Balnain House Highland Music recording.

Talk of the Towns: Local Community concerns and opportunities

This month:
Using current examples from Jonesport, Blue Hill and Bar Harbor, our guests discuss the importance of comprehensive planning to set out goals for the future, including where growth will be encouraged and where citizens hope to discourage sprawl in more rural areas. We learn how they have engaged community members in the process of creating or updating their town comprehensive plans, and how comprehensive plans also provide a foundation for land use zoning ordinances, economic development and capital investments.
What is a comprehensive plan is and how does it relate to elements of town governance (planning and zoning, infrastructure and capital investment, economic development, etc?
What is the relationship between elected officials and the planning board and the comprehensive planning process? How is comprehensive planning different from routine Planning Board work?
What are the various stages in creating a comprehensive plan?
How are community members engaged in the process?
What have you learned (or had confirmed) so far about your town?
What advice would you have for other communities as they contemplate creating or updating comprehensive plan?

Harry Fish, Selectman, Jonesport
Diane Smith, Planning Board Member, Jonesport
Michele Gagnon, Town Planner, Bar Harbor
Sarah King, Comprehensive Plan Committee, Blue Hill

About the hosts:

Ron Beard is producer and host of Talk of the Towns, which first aired on WERU in 1993 as part of his community building work as an Extension professor with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant. He took all the journalism courses he could fit in while an undergraduate student in wildlife management and served as an intern with Maine Public Television nightly newscast in the early 1970s. Ron is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic, teaching courses on community development. Ron served on the Bar Harbor Town Council for six years and is currently board chair for the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, where he has lived since 1975. Look for him on the Allagash River in June, and whenever he can get away, in the highlands of Scotland where he was fortunate to spend two sabbaticals.

Liz Graves joined Talk of the Towns as co-producer and co-host in July 2022, having long admired public affairs programming on WERU and dreamed of getting involved in community radio. She works as the Town Clerk for the Town of Bar Harbor, and is a former editor of the Mount Desert Islander weekly newspaper. Liz grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.