HEBRON — The comprehensive plan is a vision for Hebron’s future land use, not a call for zoning, officials said.

That’s an important message selectmen and members of the Comprehensive Plan Committee say they want to get out as they prepare to face voters at the March 21 annual town meeting to ask for their approval of an updated comprehensive plan.

“This is just a vision, a direction,” Josh Hounsell, vice chairman of the Comprehensive Plan Committee told less than a dozen people who showed up at Wednesday night’s two-hour public hearing. “It is not in any way zoning but it sets the stage if the town wants it in the future.”

The 117-page document defines what Hebron residents want for their community in the next ten years and provides strategies to guide the town’s resources successfully in that direction.

Last year, annual town meeting voters approved $15,000 for Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments to develop the plan. The town hired senior planner John Maloney to write the policy and recommendation document and to guide the six-member Comprehensive Plan Committee in its work, which included input from the public through surveys and hearings.

Now the plan has been completed, it must be adopted by annual town meeting voters.


Some officials fear it may be a hard sell, such as it was in 1992, because of fears that it will push zoning to the forefront again.

Hebron has state-mandated shoreland zoning, which buffers water bodies from overdevelopment but, like many other small towns in the area, voters have resisted zoning in other areas of town — a fact that the board and committee members are well aware of.

Residents apparently have not changed their minds in the past 30-plus years since zoning was on the table for discussion with the writing of the original comprehensive plan in 1983.

In the early 1990s, a comprehensive plan was developed under the former Growth Management Program, but voters rejected its adoption in 1992 because of that fear, according to officials.

At that time, the Comprehensive Plan Committee was told by residents who responded to a survey that they wanted to retain Hebron’s small-town character.

Townspeople who responded to the latest survey said the same thing. They want to maintain the town’s rural charter, open space and wildlife, and keep the town “family friendly.”


Zoning, which could regulate both residential and commercial development, is not in their “vision” for Hebron which, according to Board of Selectmen Chairman Richard Deans, has only added less than two miles of roads in the past 30 years.

While the future land use plan and map would be the basis for any future zoning proposals, officials at the public hearing said they see little chance at this time that zoning will be an issue in the near future.

“Zoning is a big misconception,” Hounsell said. “Zoning is not an issue. With this, it’s a vision.”

Hebron’s vision is most important

The document is filled with information and maps, charts and policy recommendations that by itself is a wealth of information about the town. It ranges from data about housing, the economy, historical and archaeological resources to natural resources and much more.

“There’s an awful lot of really good data in this report,” Comprehensive Plan Committee member Michael Crowley said.


Committee members and Maloney said if residents read anything in the report, they need to read plan’s three-page vision statement which talks about the character and spacial places in Hebron, current trends and Hebron’s vision for the future, which they said sets the tone for the plan.

The vision, which is based in part on the town’s visioning session held last August, is clear. Most residents do not want to see a great deal of change to what one person called “an ideal town.”

Maloney will finalize the plan, which will be presented for a vote at the annual town meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 21, at Hebron Station School on Station Road.

The Comprehensive Plan Committee includes Chairman Gino Valeriani, Vice Chairman Josh Hounsell and members Mike Crowley, John Slattery, Peg Rearick and Zach Tufts.


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