When Damariscotta residents came face-to-face with a community-changing development proposal, they used Heart & Soul Community Planning to identify common values and adapt to growth without losing local character and traditions.
In 2005 a Wal-Mart proposal forced Damariscotta residents to acknowledge conflicting values and proactively address quality of life. The experience revealed the need to engage a cross-section of the community in future planning and development decisions. The Town hired a part-time planner, formed the Damariscotta Planning Advisory Committee (DPAC), and launched the Heart & Soul process.
Coordinated by Friends of Midcoast Maine (FMM), Damariscotta Heart & Soul has used variety of methods and tools to engage new voices and develop a shared community vision. This vision will guide future plans and actions and reinforce the qualities that make Damariscotta a great place.
Project partners collected and shared local stories in a variety of ways, including Neighbor to Neighbor Chats (interviews), Community Conversations (story circles) and community forums.
DPAC members and community volunteers used those stories to identify a set of common community values to guide future planning and development decisions, such as Ability to Live and Work Locally, Proximity to Nature and Culture, and Sense of Community
In Spring 2009, project partners prepared a draft vision statement building on community input, which was used to develop and test planning scenarios reflecting the values expressed by the community.
Damariscotta held an open public design charrette to explore specific issues, such as integrating the historic village with new commercial development. CommunityViz® software helped citizens analyze design and development scenarios.
With the help of consultants, the Town drafted a Form-Based code to help implement some of the recommendations from the charrette and planning process. This code was voted down by the public and Damariscotta is considering next steps.
Last Updated: April 26, 2012, 8:43 pm