PARIS – The State Planning Office has not approved the town’s comprehensive plan, but it may be accepted after revisions.

Residents approved the plan 540-420 in June.

Frank Hample of the State Planning Office wrote that the plan was inconsistent with the state’s Planning and Land Use Regulation Act. He said there is no map or description indicating the extent of water and sewer systems within the area that is expected to have the most residential and commercial growth over the next 10 years.

Town Manager Sharon Jackson disagreed with the office’s assessment.

“We are in the process of sending out a letter to the State Planning Office identifying where we think the plan specifically identifies what they say it doesn’t,” Jackson said.

Hample also suggests that the Fire Department does not have the “type and amount of vehicles needed to provide proper fire protection.” He suggests that equipment needed by the department should be incorporated into the town’s capital investment plan.

The Maine Forest Service asked that the plan include street trees and shade trees as part of its infrastructure, but also praised it for being compliant with shoreland zoning ordinances adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection.

The Maine Historic Preservation Commission asked that a list of historically important homes and businesses be included in the plan.

“Land use ordinance provisions should be considered that protect historic properties outside the historic district not only from subdivisions and nonresidential development but also from all types of activities that adversely affect them,” said Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. of the commission.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said the plan was consistent with its goals as well as the goals of the Maine Natural Areas Program.

The department suggests that the town augment the shoreland zoning ordinance to protect wetlands and other aquatic habitats; identify areas for open space protection; properly maintain roads to ensure water quality and fish passage through culverts; and include a discussion of vernal pools. It also asks that areas set aside for conservation reflect a need for conservation.

“If the areas that are set aside are not defined in the subdivision ordinance, the town is likely to find that only the most undevelopable areas are protected and not necessarily the most valuable areas from a conservation perspective,” Bethany Atkins of the department said.

The Department of Transportation said the plan could have presented data “in a more forthright tabular manner,” but praised it as “a thoughtful plan that considers a number of land use and transportation planning issues.”

Jackson said she was not sure about whether any changes will be made to the plan.

“Even though the state hasn’t approved it, we still have a comprehensive plan that has been approved by the town,” she said.


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