Comments sought on proposed comprehensive plan


DIXFIELD – Residents will have a chance Thursday to learn about and comment on a proposed comprehensive plan that, once adopted, will help guide the town’s development for the next 10 to 15 years.

The public forum is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, in the cafeteria of Dirigo High School where coffee and dessert will be served.

John Maloney, a planner from the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments who has been working with the 14-member Comprehensive Plan Committee for nearly two years, said Tuesday that the 65-page document is essentially a new plan. The original was written in the early 1980s and updated in 1989. The original, he said, was passed before the state enacted a growth management law.

Maloney said the committee looked at how to address the town’s economic concerns, including a possible reconsideration of a Pine Tree Zone, and some form of tax incentive financing district.

One section describes possible land uses in the future, such as areas for residences, industry and commercial growth.

Another goal is to develop and participate in programs aimed at regional cooperation such as the River Valley Growth Council and area chambers of commerce. Such cooperation could lead to sharing municipal services and protecting water sources.

Maloney said the committee worked with the Dixfield Economic Development Council to develop ideas for the plan.

The State Planning Office provided a $20,000 grant to the town for the plan’s development.

Once the public comments, the Comprehensive Plan Committee will incorporate some, if appropriate, before sending the document to the State Planning Office for review.

A final proposal will go before a public hearing prior to being acted on at a town meeting.

Maloney said a comprehensive plan is advisory. Specific laws and ordinances must be adopted to implement the ideas in the plan.

Passage of a comprehensive plan is necessary for the town to apply for some state and federal grants, Maloney said.