News

Latest Round of Coastal Community Planning Grants Awarded

The Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry (DACF) announces the award of nearly $167,000 through its Coastal Community Grant Program for six projects located throughout coastal Maine. This year’s grants, awarded and administered by DACF’s Municipal Planning Assistance Program, will support the coastal economy by providing planning assistance for projects that will prevent flood damage to municipal infrastructure, restore fisheries habitat, protect natural-resource-based tourism and increase the climate resiliency of coastal downtowns.

The grants are made possible by the Maine Coastal Program, Department of Marine Resources (DMR), which provides funding through Maine’s federal coastal zone management award from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Each project involves regional or local-level partnerships and each grantee provides a minimum of 25% in matching funds or services.

The Coastal Community Grants are an important element of the Municipal Planning Assistance Program’s mission to improve economic conditions by providing technical and financial assistance to Maine municipalities. This is the 8th round of Coastal Community Grants, which since 2012, have provided over $1.46 million for 62 projects throughout coastal Maine. More information on previously-funded projects can be found on the Municipal Planning Assistance Program's Financial Assistance page.

This year, the following grants have been awarded:

Town of Boothbay Harbor $12,400
West Harbor Pond Water Quality Restoration Project

The Town, working with the West Harbor Pond Watershed Association and other cooperating agencies and organizations will design a replacement for the siphon that, for over 120 years, protected the water quality of West Harbor Pond. With the siphon’s failure in 2008, salt water seeping through the dam and entering the pond at extreme high tide is no longer being removed, resulting significant adverse impact on aquatic life. With the replacement of the siphon, evacuation of the salt water will resume, the pond’s water quality will be restored, and the adverse impact on its valuable aquatic habitat will be reversed.

Town of Cape Elizabeth $20,500
Cape Elizabeth Culvert and Habitat Impact Assessment

The Town will survey the condition of its 20 most significant culverts, and conduct at detailed assessment of three major Spurwink Marsh road crossings. The assessment will evaluate current conditions and the environmental impacts of several possible infrastructure changes designed to increase climate resiliency. The project will build on the Maine Coastal Program-funded 2015 Cape Elizabeth Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment, prepared by the Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) with the assistance of Maine Geological Survey. 

Town of Harpswell $20,000
Preparation for Coastal Flooding in Harpswell: A Plan for Basin Point Road and its Wetlands

The Town, its consulting engineer, and the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership will develop a long-term plan for managing the potential impacts of coastal flooding due to sea level rise and storm surge on a portion of Basin Point Road. Options for managing the impact of increased salt water movement into a nearby pond and valuable wetlands will be developed, and the cost of measures to mitigate the impacts of coastal storms and flooding on the road, culverts and surrounding habitat will be addressed. This work will build on an earlier project conducted by Bowdoin College Environmental Studies students, the Maine Geological Survey and the Midcoast Council of Governments.

Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission $15,000
York River Watershed Analysis
The Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission, in coordination with the York River Study Committee, will review existing municipal land-use ordinances within the York River watershed, conduct a watershed-wide build-out study, and recommend measures to protect various watershed resources. This work will contribute directly to the Study Committee’s development of a watershed management plan, which will be presented to each of the four towns in the watershed for possible local adoption.   

City of South Portland $54,805
Trout Brook Culvert Improvements Project

Over the past several years, the City has made considerable efforts to improve the water quality and aquatic habitat of Trout Brook. In 2012, these efforts included the development of the DEP-funded Trout Brook Watershed Management Plan. The City will now be able to begin implementation of a key recommendation of the plan: to enhance stream connectivity by improving or restoring fish passage at several culverts. This grant will fund a hydrologic and hydraulic study that will allow strategic culvert improvements to be made with assurance that no unintended flooding or erosion impacts will result.

Town of Machias $45,094
Machias Waterfront Resilience and Renewal

The Town of Machias, working with the Washington County Council of Governments, will undertake three discrete yet related planning tasks: 1) a feasibility study which will identify conceptual designs and establish a plan to build flood protection along the existing seawall in downtown Machias; 2) an economic analysis of improving flood protection for downtown Machias; and 3) conceptual plans incorporating seawall improvements into the restoration of the historic wharf and river walk. Each task will explore ways to move downtown Machias towards greater climate resiliency, and taken together, provide a complementary approach to realizing a more sustainable and vibrant community.

Contact:  Ruta Dzenis, Senior Planner, Municipal Planning Assistance Program, 287-2851


Municipal Climate Adaptation Guidance Series

The Municipal Planning Assistance Program and Maine’s Regional Planning Organizations have collaborated on a series of guidance documents design to help local governments increase community resilience in the face of sea-level rise and more frequent intense storms. Read more on our Climate Change page.


MPAP Services

The Municipal Planning Assistance Program (MPAP) provides land use planning expertise for Maine citizens, municipalities, regional planning organizations, state agencies and the Legislature, and promotes growth management principles in state and local policies, programs, regulations and investments by:

Providing technical and financial assistance

MPAP provides technical and financial assistance including: model ordinances and other guidance documents; workshops and webinars; one-on-one technical support; planning data; training for local officials; annual grants to regional planning organizations and competitive grants for specific planning projects.

Coordinating with state agencies

MPAP works with agencies across state government to assure that their policies and programs align with and support state land-use policies. We accomplish this through participation on interagency working groups, grant review committees and advisory boards. Comments that we solicit as part of our review of proposed comprehensive plans also helps assure that the missions and policies of our partner agencies are appropriately reflected in local plans.

Implementing Maine's Growth Management Act

Through the Growth Management Act's review and certification process, MPAP guides local authorities in the development of comprehensive plans and land-use ordinances that are tailored to the needs of the individual community and consistent with state land-use policies.


Other Items of Interest...

EPA Stormwater Calculator
Demonstration for Planning Boards

Using funds provided in a grant from the Maine Coastal Program, the Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission has created a demonstration of EPA's online Stormwater Calculator. The step-by-step demonstration is designed to show local Planning Board members the effect Low-Impact Development (LID) stormwater management techniques can have when used in a hypothetical development scenario.

Why your town should have a Comprehensive Plan

Learn about some key benefits your community can enjoy by adopting a comprehensive plan that is consistent with Maine's Growth Management Act, including:

  • clear vision for future growth
  • ultimate legal support for land use ordinances
  • enhanced state grant opportunities

View the Comprehensive Plan brochure (PDF)

Older "Findings of Consistency" expired at the end of 2012

A state Finding of Consistency for a local comprehensive plan is valid for twelve years. A temporary exemption for older Findings ran out on December 31, 2012. What does the expiration of a Finding of Consistency mean for your community?

View frequently asked questions (PDF)

Growth Management Program Evaluation

The quadrennial Growth Management Program Evaluation was presented to the Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources in 2011. The evaluation summarizes the program's history, gives the status of recommendations made in the 2007 evaluation, and assesses the current state of the program.

View the Growth Management Program Evaluation (PDF)

To Encourage the Preservation of Dark Skies: A Report to the Business, Research & Economic Development Committee

Viewing stars with the naked eye requires "dark skies" - night skies that are largely free of light pollution emitted by misdirected outdoor lights. Maine is one of the few places in the eastern United States that still has dark skies. This report, prepared in response to a legislative resolve calling for the preservation of this natural resource, reviews outdoor lighting standards for commercial development and offers options and recommendations for their promotion.

View the Dark Skies Preservation Report (PDF)