2006 Comprehensive Plan

Town of Newcastle

Comprehensive Plan

February 2006

As Amended, March, 2007

Prepared by the:
Newcastle Comprehensive Plan Committee

Dan Schick, Chair
Nick Buck                                 Dick Chase
Peter Glueck                            Joe Garcia
Rudy Graf                                 Maureen Hoffman
Paul Hoffman                          Nancy Holmes
Robert Hunt                            David Lawrence
Jim Mercer                              Alan Millett
Rob Nelson                              Russell Nowak
Alan Pooley                             Chris Rice

With assistance from:
Erik Hellstedt,
Planning Decisions, Inc.

 

Table of Contents

Introduction..................................................................................................... 5

History of Newcastle Comprehensive Planning.............................................. 6

A Vision for Newcastle.................................................................................... 7

Goals, Objectives and Implementation Strategies.......................................... 9

Capital Investment Plan................................................................................ 22

Implementation Strategy Priorities................................................................ 24

Appendix A:  Inventory

Population and Demographics............................................................... 44         

Housing.................................................................................................. 52

Local Economy....................................................................................... 57

Transportation........................................................................................ 62

Public Utilities......................................................................................... 74

Public Facilities....................................................................................... 76

Land Use................................................................................................. 81

Parks and Recreation.............................................................................. 89

Historic and Archaeological Resources................................................... 91

Natural Resources .................................................................................. 95

Topography and Watersheds; Geology:  Soils, Bedrock and Groundwater; Surface Waters and Wetlands; Marine Resources; Scenic Areas

Fiscal Capacity....................................................................................... 107

Appendix B:  Results of Town Survey........................................................... 115

Appendix C:  Results of Visioning Sessions.................................................. 123

Appendix D:  Maps and Figures..................................................................... 141

 

INTRODUCTION

In April 2002 the Board of Selectmen in Newcastle decided to review the town Comprehensive Plan, which was created in 1991. A Comprehensive Plan Review Committee was formed that had members from all segments of the Newcastle community. Planning Decisions, Inc. was hired as a consultant to assist with the process of conducting the review. The committee was organized and initial meetings laid out the review process and outlined the structure of the final document. The Inventory and Analysis for the plan needed to be updated and issues and implications developed from that information.

Townspeople’s input was important and one of the first steps was to create a collective vision for the future of Newcastle, to identify what people liked and disliked about the town and how they would like to see the town develop in the near future. The Review Committee hired a van and most members participated in a visioning trip where they brainstormed about the various sections of town as the van toured the whole town. This visioning session was recorded on video and was used to identify issues to be brought to the town in two visioning sessions that were held in April and May 2004. The results of these two sessions are available in Appendix C.

In January 2004, a questionnaire was sent to all the residents. The questionnaire was comprehensive in asking townspeople to rank issues relating to housing, land use, economy, quality of life, environment, services and town finances. There were over 350 responses, with most providing more than the minimum information requested. A synopsis of the results is available in Appendix B.

The information from the visioning sessions and the questionnaire were used to develop some of the issues and implications in the Inventory and Analysis update and to guide the review of the goals and objectives from the 1991 Comprehensive Plan. The Review Committee has spent considerable time over the past two years developing the Goals, Objectives, and Strategies section of the Comprehensive Plan Review to assure that it was faithful to the ideas presented by the townspeople in the visioning process and in their responses to the questionnaire. The Committee has prepared a draft Review in time for informational meetings, a hearing and presentation for a vote at the town meeting in March 2006.

This document contains an introduction, a brief history of comprehensive planning in Newcastle, a vision for the town, revised goals and objectives and implementation strategies. The Inventory and Analysis has been updated and is contained in Appendix A. Updated maps are in Appendix D.

The town expresses its gratitude to the Newcastle Comprehensive Plan Review Committee for its extensive efforts in preparing this document.

A HISTORY OF NEWCASTLE COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING

The first Comprehensive Plan was put in place in 1970, long before Comprehensive Plans were in vogue in Maine. The basic tenets for guiding development in town were created then and are remarkably timely today.

A land use code was prepared in 1972 to provide the regulatory framework for the plan. Since that time, a series of additions have been made to these two documents. The land use code was revised in 1982 and a subdivision ordinance was created in 1988. A subdivision ordinance and a shore land zoning ordinance were created in the 1990’s.

The comprehensive plan was extensively rewritten in 1989 - 1990 and passed by the town in 1991. The land use code was rewritten, expanded and finally codified into the Newcastle Land Use Ordinance (“LUO”) in 2001. This document included a site plan review, a design review ordinance, floodplain management, residential growth limits, mobile home park ordinance, erosion, sedimentation control and storm water management regulations as new elements along with the zone definitions and standards, subdivision ordinance, shoreland standards and general standards from the prior land use code, all updated from prior editions. In 2005, the LUO was modified to include a new zone, the Maritime Activities Zone, in downtown Newcastle.

The Comprehensive Plans developed by towns in Maine are designed to remain current for five to ten years, then they should be revisited to bring them up to date with the latest advances in planning and bring them into compliance with any changes in planning requirements at the state level.

Since the Newcastle Comprehensive Plan was approved in 1991, the state has launched a whole new program of town and regional planning known as Smart Growth. This is in response to the recognition that the type of town development endorsed for 50 years in the United States encouraged the movement of townspeople, town facilities and commercial enterprise out of town centers into surrounding countryside, abandoning the concept of integral towns and the maintenance of the rural nature of the towns to what has become known as sprawl. This type of development has forced people to depend on the automobile and school busses for transportation to almost anything that they want to do, go to work or school, to shop, or even to visit with neighbors. This is inherently inefficient and expensive and is the fastest way to destroy the town centers and the rural nature of the town’s outlying lands that people hold dear.

The revisions in this Comprehensive Plan address some of these concerns, recognizing that it is impossible to reverse recent history, but also recognizing that there are ways of allowing towns to return to a more centralized population density and to protect the rural nature of the town without substantially affecting the distribution of wealth or value in the town.

A VISION FOR NEWCASTLE

The town of Newcastle held two Visioning Sessions in April and May, 2004, where those attending were asked to identify what they believed were important to the town and what means the town should take to guide its future in the desired direction. The first session asked the participants: “What makes Newcastle such a great place to live?” and they were asked to identify one or two of the reasons they live in Newcastle. The participants were then asked to identify all of the special places in town and to vote for the three they each held most dear. They were then asked to create an ideal future for each section of the community as to how it should function, what would be different, what would remain the same. The areas of town considered were Route 1, NewcastleVillage, River Road, SheepscotRiver, Upper Damariscotta River/Mills and North Newcastle.

In response to these questions, major reasons Newcastle was a great place to live were identified as: job opportunities, water access, small town atmosphere and rural life among many others. Special areas were identified as Deer Meadow Brook, SheepscotVillage, NewcastleVillage, MillsVillage and the lakes and rivers. Attendees wished that in the future Route 1 would have no strip development, no traffic lights, and no “big box” stores and that any commercial development would be buffered from the road. Newcastle village was envisioned as a pedestrian-oriented retail center with dense growth and with views preserved. River Road would maintain its character with development only on the land side of the road. The attendees hoped that SheepscotRiver would have the Sheepscot village character preserved with more paths and trails and with wildlife corridors preserved. The upper Damariscotta River/Mills area would have the same village character with better access to the water, improved traffic safety while the farms, views and open spaces were preserved. North Newcastle would still have its farms and open spaces with good quality watersheds and wildlife habitat and clustered development.

In the second visioning session, held in May 2004, the participants were asked to identify changes they’d seen since they have lived here and which ones were good and which bad. They were then asked where they would like to see residential development occur, what types of development they would like to see there and where they would like to see conservation efforts focused. Participants were then asked to identify types of commercial activity that are appropriate for the Route 1 corridor versus NewcastleVillage. The last question was to identify potential services/programs/facilities that might be appropriate if Newcastle is going to expand its level of cooperation with neighboring towns.

The responses generated by the participants at the second visioning session listed good changes such as strong conservation efforts, maintained rural character, desirable type of commercial development. Bad changes were headed by higher taxes, poorly buffered development on Route 1, increased traffic and the intersection of Business Route 1, Academy Hill Road and Route 215. Residential development deemed most desirable were small lots in the village areas, medium lots in North Newcastle and River Road and Open Space Development on the fringes of the villages with minimal expansion of lots in North Newcastle, Route 213, SheepscotVillage, MarshRiver, Kings Highway and Deer Meadow Brook.

Commercial development more appropriate to Route 1 should be nonpolluting and would include light manufacturing and office buildings with either perpendicular development, parallel service roads, or long set backs. Village commercial development was seen as being nonpolluting and would include retail, bakery/specialty, cinema, professional offices, restaurants and shops with greenway/walkway connections. Regional cooperation was seen as producing better trash collection/transfer station service, more efficient fire protection, rail service, extended water and sewer service, the coordination of protection of large habitat blocks and shared administrative costs.

For a more complete list of ideas presented by townspeople for each of the above topics, see the full notes in Appendix C.

GOALS, OBJECTIVES, AND IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES

HOUSING

Goal:Newcastle residents have determined to promote a safe, diverse, and environmentally sensitive pattern of residential development that complements our village and rural areas.

Objective 1: Ensure that new residential development occurs at a rate that does not outstrip the Town’s ability to provide efficient and adequate services.

a. Study the impact new residential housing has on town services and then adjust the residential growth cap in the Land Use Ordinance to ensure that the rate of new development does not outstrip the town’s ability to provide efficient and adequate services for this new development.

b. Review this study periodically to ensure that changes in the cost of local services are updated and compared with changing local and regional housing trends.

Objective 2: Encourage a diversity of housing in Newcastle that encompasses housing for the elderly and the workforce.

a. Promote workforce housing in Newcastle by allowing residential development on smaller lot sizes in and near villages.

b. Allow more multi-unit residential developments in appropriate areas of the community, and allow manufactured homes and mobile home parks to be built in the community.

c. Adjust the Land Use Ordinance to allow higher-density developments, including those for retirees and the elderly, in areas that are closer to existing facilities and services.

d. Newcastle will seek to meet the goals of the State of Maine Growth Management Act regarding affordable housing by working with the C.E.D. and Penquis C.A.P. agencies.

Objective 3: Promote a pattern of development that compliments Newcastle’s existing character.

a. Make more efficient use of the existing public water and sewer infrastructure and encourage higher densities in and around Newcastle village that is compatible with the village’s historical scale and character.

b. Encourage infill housing in Newcastle’s villages that compliments the existing development pattern within those villages.

c. Encourage denser residential development around Newcastle’s existing villages.

d. Create provisions in the Land Use Ordinance that would allow new villages to be established in areas that can accommodate traffic, are safe, and won’t have adverse environmental impacts.

e. Create incentives that will encourage new residential development to use “open space subdivisions” instead of the traditional subdivision development in more rural areas of town.

f. Adopt a zoning ordinance that requires development in any field larger than 10 acres to be planned using the “open space subdivision” ordinance to retain rural vistas.

g. Create incentives in the Land Use Ordinance that will protect the environmentally sensitive Deer Meadow Brook corridor.

Objective 4: Encourage residential development in appropriate areas so that our natural resources will not be damaged.

a. Review the current Land Use Ordinance to ensure that environmentally sensitive areas receive adequate protection from the effects of development.

Objective 5: Ensure that all new construction meets minimum standards for safety and quality.

a. Adopt a local building code using the State building code as a guide.

b. Develop design review standards for new construction that requires a permit.

LOCAL ECONOMY

Goal:Newcastle wants to promote commercial and light industrial development that complements our town’s role in the region and improves our general quality of life and expands the general tax base.

Objective 1: Ensure that new commercial and light industrial development complements our small-town character.

a. Support provisions in our existing land use ordinance that discourage sprawl along the Route 1 corridor.

b. Encourage the construction of frontage roads along Route 1 that will allow commercial development to reach deeper into the Route 1 corridor instead of sprawled along the edges of the highway.

c. Review the “good neighbor” performance standards for commercial properties to ensure that new development respects the small-town character of our community.

d. Adjust zoning ordinance to allow light industrial development between Sheepscot Road and Lewis Road, taking advantage of possible rail connections.

e. Prohibit large-scale retail development by restricting building size and parking area in order to encourage and protect appropriate scale retail.

Objective 2: Our town should become an active participant to attract appropriate commercial development.

a. Use incentives, including Tax Increment Financing, where appropriate, to attract new commercial/industrial development and ensure that this new development does not unduly burden local taxpayers.

b. Create an incentives policy to ensure that economic development projects meet the town’s standards and provide acceptable public benefits.

Objective 3: Use commercial development to improve the viability of our village centers.

a. Review the land use ordinance to ensure that convenience retail and mixed-use activities are allowed in our town’s villages.

b. Create a Newcastle Village Master Plan that explores the redevelopment of Downtown Newcastle and mixed-use commercial zoning alternatives in Newcastle center.

c. Ensure that development in the Commercial and Light Industrial Districts does not compete with development in the village centers.

TRANSPORTATION

Goal: Our town desires to maintain and improve the quality, efficiency, and safety of our transportation network while protecting the characteristics of our rural road network.

Objective 1: Ensure that improvements to local and state roads both improve public safety and respect the scenic character of our town’s rural areas and villages.

a. Adopt standards for context sensitive design on road network improvements.

b. Work with the Maine Department of Transportation to ensure that any road improvements in NewcastleVillage will promote the area as a pedestrian-oriented village center.

c. Work with neighboring communities to ensure that the scenic and safety characteristics of road improvements to major road corridors are consistent from one community to the next.

d. Work with Maine DOT Gateway 1 Project to achieve consistent land use planning between communities which share access to Route #1 to ensure that strip development is discouraged.

Objective 2: Ensure that land uses along the town’s road networks can receive adequate public safety services and are safe.

a. Limit the length of new dead-end roads to ensure public safety services can adequately serve new development.

b. Review the curb-cut policy on our local and collector roadways to avoid too frequent openings to the roads and to assure that such openings have sufficient sight line for safety.

c. Review the town’s road improvement standards to ensure that new roads are safe and are built to minimum standards for public safety services.

Objective 3: Create a pedestrian-oriented NewcastleVillage.

a. Maintain and, where appropriate expand, the sidewalk network including crosswalks, to make pedestrian movement easier.

b. Ensure that adequate parking facilities are provided with new commercial development in NewcastleVillage. Retail and service businesses that are pedestrian-oriented could be required to provide fewer parking spaces if they are in a more densely developed part of NewcastleVillage.

c. Seek opportunities to improve pedestrian movement to and from Damariscotta. These improvements could include pedestrian facilities, parks, a denser retail and service pattern of development, and sidewalks.

d. Maintain, and where appropriate, expand streetlighting in village.

Objective 4: Encourage development of rail service to and from Newcastle, both passenger and freight, including infrastructure like terminal and parking.

a. Explore opportunities for acquiring and refurbishing the historical railroad station.

b. Seek opportunities to provide for parking for potential train service.

c. Seek regional intermodal use for train traffic.

d. Explore needed infrastructure for freight service.

e. Coordinate development of rail service with neighboring towns.

PUBLIC UTILITIES

Goal: Support the expansion of public water and sewer in a manner that will encourage a denser pattern of development in the villages of town.

Objective 1: Use public utilities as a tool to manage growth.

a. Review the Land Use Ordinance to ensure that developers have incentives to expand public utilities in NewcastleCenter and Damariscotta Mills.

b. Explore the use of income from Tax Increment Financing or other town income to expand sewer and water systems.

PUBLIC FACILITIES

Goal: Our town should ensure the availability of required municipal services in an efficient and cost-effective manner for both current and future needs.

Objective 1: Review our administration of municipal government services to ensure that our town operates as efficiently as possible.

a. The Selectmen should work to develop good practices.

Objective 2: Create a master plan for municipal facilities.

a. Fire Station

b. MunicipalBuilding

c. OldTaniscotBuilding

d. BirdPlaygroundBuilding

Objective 3: Initiate an effort to use a regional approach for those services that can be provided more efficiently at a regional level.

a. The Selectmen should collaborate with neighboring towns and with LincolnCounty to become more efficient in both contracting and purchasing.

LAND USE PLAN

Goal:Newcastle should encourage development that conserves open space, environmentally sensitive areas and agriculture.

Objective 1: Determine the comparative costs of sprawl in Newcastle.

a. Evaluate the consequences and costs of future development patterns on municipal services and facilities, whether spread out along existing roads or clustered in areas near the villages.

Objective 2: Create a sharper density difference between in-town and rural areas.

a. Increase the diversity of land use districts to allow for future development consistent with the goals and objectives of this plan.

b. Create overlay districts where higher density is encouraged, with densities of twice current limits allowed within existing village residential areas and even greater densities in the Village Business District.

c. Promote residential development concepts such as open space subdivisions, cluster development and small, local sewer districts to help preserve open space elsewhere.

d. Consider reducing required front yard and side yard requirements in planned developments to encourage “neighborhood scale”, higher density residential housing.

Objective 3: Protect the important wildlife areas in accordance with “Beginning with Habitat” concepts.

a. Create additional resource protection zone areas for significant woodland and riparian habitat for endangered species.

b. Work with landowners to develop acceptable ways of protecting their property rights as well as protecting the wildlife areas on their property.

c. Extend the shore land zone protections around Deer Meadow Brook to protect the significant wildlife corridor that now exists in this unfragmented area.

Goal: Newcastle should promote growth in the town’s economic base using Smart Growth principles of protecting natural resources and minimizing commuter travel.

Objective 1: Concentrate the industrial development in the light industry Route 1 District.

a. Consider restrictions for commercial development in the rural district.

Objective 2: Promote high-density development areas with mixed residential and commercial elements to support pedestrian based village centers.

a. Reduce the lot size and setback restrictions and modify restrictions on commercial establishments in the residential sections of the high density development overlay district

Goal: Newcastle should maintain the intended character of each district.

Objective 1: Ensure that local signs are consistent with the character of the neighborhood.

a. Revise the Newcastle sign ordinance periodically for appropriateness of sign size and type.

PARKS AND RECREATION

Goal:Newcastle should provide recreation opportunities for all our residents and visitors.

Objective 1: Improve our town’s ability to respond to the changing recreation needs in Newcastle.

a. Establish a recreation committee whose task is to monitor recreation facilities and the demand for new facilities. This committee’s first task should be to determine where our town could best spend its scarce recreation resources to meet the changing needs of our residents.

b. Support regional opportunites to provide a wide range of indoor recreation opportunities to residents in the Newcastle-Damariscotta region. Other partners in this project could include municipalities, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses.

c. Create a map showing parks and other recreational facilites in Newcastle.

Objective 2: Respect private recreation opportunities and encourage their continued use.

a. The Recreation Committee should create a public-awareness campaign that encourages responsible and respectful access to the large number of private recreation resources in our town. Newcastle residents rely heavily on the generosity of these landowners for access to the landscape.

b. The Recreation Committee should recruit a local volunteer organization to monitor the use of private recreation resources and resolve conflicts when they arise.

Objective 3: Maintain and upgrade the public recreation facilities in Newcastle

a. Where the demand exists, Newcastle should seek off-street parking facilities at well-used recreation areas or when roads are rebuilt in the vicinity of recreation areas.

b. The town should maintain its parks and public spaces to ensure they are in good condition, accessible, and safe.

c. The town should seek to create public recreation parks in each of the town’s villages. Available parks are integral to the viability of our villages.

Objective 4: Improve the safety of pedestrian/bicycle facilities in the community

a. Improve sidewalk networks in the villages to ensure safer pedestrian conditions, especially along high-speed road corridors.

b. Expand the width and number of bicycle shoulders on our town’s main roads. These shoulders will improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and improve our quality of life.

HISTORIC AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESOURCES

Goal: Our town should preserve the historic and archaeological resources of our community and region.

Objective 1: Increase the awareness of historic and archaeological resources in our town.

a. Develop an inventory of our town’s historic structures and villages. This information should be assembled and printed in a catalogue for public distribution.

b. Support the creation of a regional historic society to preserve artifacts and raise the public’s awareness of our region’s history.

Objective 2: Protect the historic and archaeological resources in our town.

a. Require Phase 1 surveys of historic and archaeological resources during site plan review. This will help ensure that new development does not adversely impact important historic and/or archaeological resources.

NATURAL RESOURCES: LAND, FRESHWATER AND MARINE

Goal: Newcastle should work to protect the land, water and wildlife resources upon which our town’s rural beauty and economy depends.

Objective 1: The town should protect and improve the quality of surface and subsurface water.

a. Explore mechanisms for identifying and correcting malfunctioning septic systems in town.

b. Encourage use of ecologically sound, alternative septic waste treatment systems.

c. Actively support regional management efforts for improving the DamariscottaLake, DamariscottaRiver and the SheepscotRiver watersheds.

d. Improve aquatic habitat in Newcastle’s streams by maintaining stream continuity and repairing and replacing barriers to aquatic organism passage as roads are repaired.

e. To ensure adequate long-term protection of aquatic and riparian habitats, minimum distances between a waterway and any development should be increased from the state minimum to a greater distance set by the town.

f. Develop new land use standards and enforce them regarding land clearing, the use of fertilizers and pesticides and requiring dig permits before starting dirt disturbance projects.

g. Work with DOT, DEP and local contractors to minimize phosphorous release from soils during regular road maintenance activities for instance by requiring utilization of Best Management Practices.

h. Enforce the storm water, soil erosion and sedimentation ordinances to reduce phosphorous and other nutrient release, especially in the lake watersheds.

i. Extend the public sewer system to protect water quality in areas of higher density development.

Objective 2: Protect and preserve important natural resources.

a. Preserve and protect rare plants and unique natural areas.

b. Preserve and protect deer wintering areas.

c. Preserve wading bird and waterfowl habitat.

d. Preserve and protect endangered species and habitats.

e. Preserve wetlands, including vernal pools, and prevent their deterioration from filling and pollution.

f. Encourage communication and coordination with state, regional, and private organizations for the preservation, protection, conservation and enhancement of fish and wildlife resources.

g. Reduce nighttime light pollution by encouraging sensitive site lighting design.

Objective 3: The town should assure that agricultural and forestry activities can continue as a viable part of the local economy.

a. Ensure better enforcement of existing forest cutting regulations.

b. Develop incentives through local ordinances for the preservation of farmlands.

c. Encourage the use of state-sponsored programs for the preservation of farmland and forestland. The SheepscotRiver Focus Area is currently eligible to receive Landowner Incentive Program funding to help finance land acquisition and habitat enhancement.

d. Safeguard the right to farm.

MARINE RESOURCES

Goal: Newcastle should promote the health and husbandry of its marine resources.

Objective 1: Protect and improve the water quality of estuaries.

a. Work with local conservation organizations and with state agencies to reduce runoff and prevent overuse of the marine environment through multiple users.

b. Work with local conservation organizations, regional and state agencies to create a septic pump-out station at the town landing.

Objective 2: Encourage appropriate fisheries for marine species.

a. Work withlocal conservation organizations, shellfish wardens and state agencies to assure appropriate husbandry of the marine ecosystem is considered in utilizing individual resources.

Objective 3: Promote adequate access to the estuaries.

a. Work with neighboring towns to assure adequate access is maintained, or increased, for shore-based fishing, vessel launching and landing facilities.

FISCAL CAPACITY

Goal: Our town should maintain a relatively stable property tax burden while providing a high level of community services and facilities

Objective 1: Improve planning for and financing of capital investments.

a. The town selectmen or town administrator should prepare a six-year capital investment plan (CIP) to present at each annual Town Meeting. This CIP should include items to be purchased, how they will be financed, and what the projected impact will be on the town’s tax rate.

b. The Town should continue to use debt financing for capital investments. This helps decrease fluctuations in the tax rate and allows the town to pay off capital investments as it uses them.

Objective 2: Actively explore alternative funding, including grants, Tax Increment Financing, and private fundraising for needed capital expenditures.

a. Assign task forces to research cost estimates and funding alternatives for major capital investments.

Objective 3: Ensure that all major developments will result in net additional revenue to the community after increased service demands resulting from the development.

a. The Planning Board should require a fiscal impact analysis as part of the development review process for all major residential and nonresidential development.

REGIONAL GOALS, OBJECTIVES, AND STRATEGIES

The Regional Goals, Objectives, and Strategies Section is a codification of the elements in the Plan that are regional in nature. The Goals, Objectives, and Strategies presented here are also presented in the previous separate sections, eg, Local Economy. The previous outline numbering system has been maintained to simplify locating these strategies in the Implementation Strategies Section.

LOCAL ECONOMY

Goal:Newcastle wants to promote commercial and light industrial development that complements our town’s role in the region and improves our general quality of life and expands the general tax base.

Objective 1: Ensure that new commercial and light industrial development complements our small-town character.

e. Prohibit large-scale retail development by restricting building size and parking area in order to encourage and protect appropriate scale retail.

TRANSPORTATION

Goal: Our town desires to maintain and improve the quality, efficiency, and safety of our transportation network while protecting the characteristics of our rural road network.

Objective 1: Ensure that improvements to local and state roads both improve public safety and respect the scenic character of our town’s rural areas and villages.

c. Work with neighboring communities to ensure that the scenic and safety characteristics of road improvements to major road corridors are consistent from one community to the next.

d. Work with Maine DOT Gateway 1 Project to achieve consistent land use planning between communities which share access to Route #1 to ensure that strip development is discouraged.

Objective 3: Create a pedestrian-oriented NewcastleVillage.

c. Seek opportunities to improve pedestrian movement to and from Damariscotta. These improvements could include pedestrian facilities, parks, a denser retail and service pattern of development, and sidewalks.

Objective 4: Encourage development of rail service to and from Newcastle, both passenger and freight, including infrastructure like terminal and parking.

c. Seek regional intermodal use for train traffic.

e. Coordinate development of rail service with neighboring towns.

PUBLIC FACILITIES

Goal: Our town should ensure the availability of required municipal services in an efficient and cost-effective manner for both current and future needs.

Objective 3: Initiate an effort to use a regional approach for those services that can be provided more efficiently at a regional level.

a. The Selectmen should collaborate with neighboring towns and with LincolnCounty to become more efficient in both contracting and purchasing.

PARKS AND RECREATION

Goal:Newcastle should provide recreation opportunities for all our residents and visitors.

Objective 1: Improve our town’s ability to respond to the changing recreation needs in Newcastle.

b. Support regional opportunities to provide a wide range of indoor recreation opportunities to residents in the Newcastle-Damariscotta region. Other partners in this project could include municipalities, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses.

c. Create a map showing parks and other recreational facilities in Newcastle.

HISTORIC AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESOURCES

Goal: Our town should preserve the historic and archaeological resources of our community and region.

Objective 1: Increase the awareness of historic and archaeological resources in our town.

b. Support the creation of a regional historic society to preserve artifacts and raise the public’s awareness of our region’s history.

NATURAL RESOURCES: LAND, FRESHWATER AND MARINE

Goal: Newcastle should work to protect the land, water and wildlife resources upon which our town’s rural beauty and economy depends.

Objective 1: The town should protect and improve the quality of surface and subsurface water.

c. Actively support regional management efforts for improving the DamariscottaLake, DamariscottaRiver and the SheepscotRiver watersheds.

Objective 2: Protect and preserve important natural resources.

f. Encourage communication and coordination with state, regional, and private organizations for the preservation, protection, conservation and enhancement of fish and wildlife resources.

MARINE RESOURCES

Goal: Newcastle should promote the health and husbandry of its marine resources.

Objective 1: Protect and improve the water quality of estuaries.

a.Work with local conservation organizations and with state agencies to reduce runoff and prevent overuse of the marine environment through multiple users.

b. Work with local conservation organizations, regional and state agencies to create a septic pump-out station at the town landing.

Objective 2: Encourage appropriate fisheries for marine species.

a. Work withlocal conservation organizations, shellfish wardens and state agencies to assure appropriate husbandry of the marine ecosystem is considered in utilizing individual resources.

Objective 3: Promote adequate access to the estuaries.

a. Work with neighboring towns to assure adequate access is maintained, or increased, for shore-based fishing, vessel launching and landing facilities.

CAPITAL INVESTMENT PLAN: NEWCASTLE

2005/2006 Report by the Town Administrator of Newcastle, Maine for the Capital needs and assessments and possible financial avenues for funding.

Introduction:

The Town of Newcastle and its residents recognize the need for future planning within the community while recognizing neighboring communities in the process. We are pleased to present this letter that defines some of the infrastructure and residential needs we are facing and will be facing in the foreseeable future. The Town, the Selectmen and all the Boards and Committees will be watching these issues to ensure that our goals and actions meet.

Priority Needs:

#1. Town Administrative Offices
The Board of Selectmen, The Finance Committee and The Building Committee recognizes the need and high priority for new Town Offices for both safety and space issues. The design for the Town’s new MunicipalBuilding has been done and the cost is between $300,000 and $350,000. This building has been designed to be energy efficient and as “green” a building as time and finances would allow for. The financing will be put out to bid and there is $72,000 in reserve to offset some of the costs with a potential for some grant monies being explored. Currently the payment per year, if financed for 10 years, should be $40,000 or $45,000 per year with a recommendation to set aside one half this amount until the building is paid and an amount somewhat more after to fund reserves for building repair/replacement.

# 2. Roads and Sidewalks
Board of Selectmen, The Finance Committee, and The Road Commissioner all recognize that the roads and sidewalks in Newcastle need to be a priority for the Town. The Board of Selectmen recently authorized the Town Administrator to purchase the Road Surface Maintenance System) R.S.M.S. program from the Maine Department of Transportation (D.O. T.). It is estimated that the Town currently needs to plan for $200,000 per year in road work and some years will require up to $300,000. The Planning Board is working on an Ordinance for roads and sidewalks standards to be met by future developers that don’t fall under the subdivision ordinance. The Municipal Officers are seeking to have the Town Meeting authorize the Town to deposit Urban/Rural Initiative Program (URIP) funds into a Road Reserve fund to build over time with an additional amount raised through taxes.

#3. Affordable/Workforce Housing
This is an issue that most of Maine faces and Newcastle has not escaped it. There are many avenues to take for this venture not the least of which would be investors and grants designed for just such activities. Penquis CAP is one agency that works with communities toward innovative housing solutions. The Town has recently formed a Land Use Ordinance Review Committee that is working on Ordinances and one of them is the high density areas of growth that will address this area within it. The Committee along with the Planning Board is working with the Lincoln County Planner to achieve this goal. This entire venture will possibly require TIF programs or other community financial assistance that is not predictable at this time.

#4. Public Safety
The Town currently relies on the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office for its police protection and this plan doesn’t see that changing in the next ten years. The Town does have a Fire Department that is the Taniscot Engine Company. While this Fire Company is funded in large part by the Town it is a private entity. The current level of funding will increase with time and needs. The Town historically raises these funds from taxes and the plan does not see that changing in the next ten years either. Estimated increases over the next ten years will be funded in part by monies raised at Town Meeting for an equipment reserve account, grants and monies raised at Town Meeting in addition to the current level of funding. The current level of funding is in the $80,000.00 range.

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, the Town of Newcastle recognizes it has a duty and obligation to its infrastructure and future needs for infrastructure within the community and for its residents that will require a Capital Investment Plan.

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY PRIORITIES

Goal                    Objective                    Strategy                    Responsibility                    Time Frame                    Priority

HOUSING:

Goal: Newcastle residents have determined to promote a safe, diverse, and environmentally sensitive pattern of residential development that complements our village and rural areas.

Objective 1: Ensure that new residential development occurs at a rate that does not outstrip the Town’s ability to provide efficient and adequate services.

a. Study the impact new residential housing has on town services and then adjust the residential growth cap in the Land Use Ordinance to ensure that the rate of new development does not outstrip the town’s ability to provide efficient and adequate services for this new development.
Land Use Committee
1 year
High

b. Review this study periodically to ensure that changes in the cost of local services are updated and compared with changing local and regional housing trends.
Land Use Committee
5 years
High

Objective 2: Encourage a diversity of housing in Newcastle that encompasses housing for the elderly and the workforce.

a. Promote workforce housing in Newcastle by allowing residential development on smaller lot sizes in and near villages.
Land Use Committee
1 year
High

b. Allow more multi-unit residential developments in appropriate areas of the community, and allow manufactured homes and mobile home parks to be built in the community.
Land Use Committee
1 year
High

c. Adjust the Land Use Ordinance to allow higher-density developments, including those for retirees and the elderly, in areas that are closer to existing facilities and services.
Land Use Committee
1 year
High

d. Newcastle will seek to meet the goals of the State of Maine Growth Management Act regarding affordable housing by working with the C.E.D. and Penquis C.A.P. agencies.

Objective 3: Promote a pattern of development that compliments Newcastle’s existing character.

a. Make more efficient use of the existing public water and sewer infrastructure and encourage higher densities in and around Newcastle village that is compatible with the village’s historical scale and character.
Land Use Committee / Selectmen / GSB District
1 year
High

b. Encourage infill housing in Newcastle’s villages that compliments the existing development pattern within those villages.
Land Use Committee / Selectmen
1 year
High

c. Encourage denser residential development around Newcastle’s existing villages.
Land Use Committee
1 year
Medium

d. Create provisions in the Land Use Ordinance that would allow new villages to be established in areas that can accommodate traffic, are safe, and won’t have adverse environmental impacts.
Land Use Committee / Road Commission / Gateway 1
2 years
Medium

e. Create incentives that will encourage new residential development to use “open space subdivisions” instead of the traditional subdivision development in more rural areas of town.
Land Use Committee
2 years
Medium

f. Adopt a zoning ordinance that requires development in any field larger than 10 acres to be planned using the “open space subdivision” ordinance to retain rural vistas.
Land Use Committee
2 years
Medium

g. Create incentives in the Land Use Ordinance that will protect the environmentally sensitive Deer Meadow Brook Area.
Land Use Committee / Ad Hoc/ Conservation Commission
2 years
Medium

Objective 4: Encourage residential development in appropriate areas so that our natural resources will not be damaged.

a. Review the current Land Use Ordinance to ensure that environmentally sensitive areas receive adequate protection from the effects of development.
Land Use Committee / Ad Hoc / Conservation Commission
2 years
Medium

Objective 5: Ensure that all new construction meets minimum standards for safety and quality.

a. Adopt a local building code using the State building code as a guide.
Building Committee / Ad Hoc Builders & Developers
2 years
Medium

b. Develop design review standards for new construction that requires a permit.
Building Committee / Design Review Committee / Ad Hoc Builders & Developers
2 years
High

LOCAL ECONOMY

Goal: Newcastle wants to promote commercial and light industrial development that complements our town’s role in the region and improves our general quality of life and expands the general tax base.

Objective 1: Ensure that new commercial and light industrial development complements our small-town character.

a. Support provisions in our existing land use ordinance that discourage sprawl along the Route 1 corridor.
Planning Board / Route 1 Ad Hoc / Gateway 1
1 year
High

b. Encourage the construction of frontage roads along Route 1 that will allow commercial development to reach deeper into the Route 1 corridor instead of sprawled along the edges of the highway.
Land Use Committee / Route 1 Ad Hoc / Gateway 1
1 year
High

c. Review the “good neighbor” performance standards for commercial properties to ensure that new development respects the small-town character of our community.
Land Use Committee / Design Review Board
1 year
Medium

d. Adjust zoning ordinance to allow light industrial development between Sheepscot Road and Lewis Road, taking advantage of available electrical power and possible rail connections.
Land Use Committee / Route 1 Ad Hoc / Gateway 1
2 years
High

e. Prohibit large-scale retail development by restricting building size and parking area in order to encourage and protect appropriate scale retail.
Land Use Committee / Route 1 Ad Hoc / Gateway 1
1 year
High

Objective 2: Our town should become an active participant to attract commercial development.

a. Use incentives including Tax Increment Financing, where appropriate, to attract new commercial/light industrial development and ensure that this new development does not unduly burden local taxpayers.
Land Use Committee / Finance Committee
2 years
Medium

b. Create an incentives policy to ensure that economic development projects meet the town’s standards and provide acceptable public benefits.
Finance Committee
2 years
Medium

Objective 3: Use commercial development to improve the viability of our village centers.

a. Review the land use ordinance to ensure that convenience retail and mixed-use activities are allowed in our town’s villages.
Land Use Committee
1 year
Medium

b. Create a Newcastle Village Master Plan that explores the redevelopment of Downtown Newcastle and mixed-use commercial zoning alternatives in Newcastle center.
Land Use Committee / Design Review Board / Ad Hoc Downtown
2 years
Medium

c. Ensure that development in the Commercial and Light Industrial Districts does not compete with development in the village centers.
Land Use Committee / Planning Board
2 years
Medium

TRANSPORTATION

Goal: Our town desires to maintain and improve the quality, efficiency, and safety of our transportation network while protecting the characteristics of our rural road network.

Objective 1: Ensure that improvements to local and state roads both improve public safety and respect the scenic character of our town’s rural areas and villages.

a. Adopt standards for context sensitive design on road network improvements.
DOT / Road Commission / Design Review Board
5 years
Medium

b. Work with the Maine Department of Transportation to ensure that any road improvements in NewcastleVillage will promote the area as a pedestrian-oriented village center.
Design Review Board / Road Commission / DOT
1 year
High

c. Work with neighboring communities to ensure that the scenic and safety characteristics of road improvements to major road corridors are consistent from one community to the next.
Gateway 1 / Road Commission
5 years
Medium

d. Work with Maine DOT Gateway 1 Project to achieve consistent land use planning between communities which share access to Route #1 to ensure that strip development is discouraged.
Gateway 1 / Road Commission

Objective 2: Ensure that land uses along the town’s road networks can receive adequate public safety services and are safe.

a. Limit the length of new dead-end roads to ensure public safety services can adequately serve new development.
Land Use Committee / Road Commission / Fire Department
2 years
Medium

b. Review the curb-cut policy on our local and collector roadways to avoid too frequent openings to the roads and to assure that such openings have sufficient sight-line for safety.
Road Commission / CEO
2 years
Medium

c. Review the town’s road improvement standards to ensure that new roads are safe and are built to minimum standards for public safety services.
Road Commission
2 years
Medium

Objective 3: Create a pedestrian-oriented NewcastleVillage.

a. Maintain and, where appropriate, expand the sidewalk network including crosswalks, to make pedestrian movement easier.
Land Use Committee / Road Commission
3 years
Medium

b. Ensure that adequate parking facilities are provided with new commercial development in NewcastleVillage. Retail and service businesses that are pedestrian-oriented could be required to provide fewer parking spaces if they are in a more densely developed part of NewcastleVillage.
Land Use Committee
1 year
Medium

c. Seek opportunities to improve pedestrian movement to and from Damariscotta. These improvements could include pedestrian facilities, parks, a denser retail and service pattern of development, and sidewalks.
Land Use Committee / Design Review Board
5 years
Medium

d. Maintain and, where appropriate, expand streetlighting in village.
Land Use Committee / Road Commission
3 years
Medium

Objective 4: Encourage development of rail service to and from Newcastle, both passenger and freight, including infrastructure, i.e. building and parking.

a. Explore opportunities for acquiring and refurbishing the historical railroad station.
Ad Hoc Rail Committee
5 years
Medium

b. Seek opportunities to provide for parking for potential train service.
Ad Hoc Rail Committee
5 years
Medium

c. Seek regional intermodal use for train traffic.
Ad Hoc Rail Committee
5 years
Medium

d. Explore needed infrastructure for freight service.
Ad Hoc Rail Committee
5 years
Medium

e. Coordinate development of rail service with neighboring towns.
Ad Hoc Rail Committee
5 years
Medium

PUBLIC UTILITIES

Goal: Support the expansion of public water and sewer in a manner that will encourage a denser pattern of development in the villages of town.

Objective 1: Use public utilities as a tool to manage growth.

a. Review the Land Use Ordinance to ensure that developers have incentives to expand public utilities in NewcastleCenter and Damariscotta Mills.
Land Use Committee / Finance Committee
5 years
Medium

b. Explore the use of income from Tax Increment Financing, or other town income to expand sewer and water systems.
Finance Committee
5 years
Medium

PUBLIC FACILITIES

Goal: Our town should ensure the availability of required municipal services in an efficient and cost-effective manner for both current and future needs.

Objective 1: Review our administration of municipal government services to ensure that our town operates as efficiently as possible.

a. The Selectmen should work to develop good practices.
Selectmen / Finance Committee
2 years
Medium

Objective 2: Create a master plan for municipal facilities.

a. Fire Station
Building Committee
1 year
Medium

b. MunicipalBuilding
Building Committee
1 year
Medium

c. OldTaniscotBuilding
Building Committee
1 year
Medium

d. BirdPlayGroundBuilding
Building Committee
1 year
Medium

Objective 3: Initiate a regional effort to use a regional approach for those services that can be provided more efficiently at a regional level.

a. The Selectmen should collaborate with neighboring towns and with LincolnCounty to become more efficient in both contracting and purchasing.
Selectmen / Finance Committee / LincolnCounty
3 years
Medium

LAND USE PLAN

Goal: Newcastle should encourage development that conserves open space, environmentally sensitive areas and agriculture.

Objective 1: Determine the comparative costs of sprawl in Newcastle.

a. Evaluate the consequences and costs of future development patterns on municipal services and facilities, whether spread out along existing roads or clustered in areas near the villages.
Finance Committee / Selectmen
1 year
Medium

Objective 2: Create a sharper density difference between in town and rural areas.

a. Increase the diversity of land use districts to allow for future development consistent with the goals and objectives of this plan.
Land Use Committee
1 year
High

b. Create overlay districts where higher density is encouraged, with densities of twice current limits allowed within existing village residential areas and even greater density in the village business district.
Land Use Committee / Planning Board
1 year
High

c. Promote residential development concepts such as open space subdivisions, cluster development and small, local sewer districts to help preserve open space elsewhere.
Land Use Committee / Planning Board
2 years
Medium

d. Consider reducing required front yard and side yard requirements in planned developments to encourage “neighborhood scale”, higher density residential housing.
Land Use Committee / Planning Board
2 years
Medium

Objective 3: Protect the important wildlife areas in accordance with Maine's "Beginning with Habitat" concepts.

a. Create additional resource protection zone areas for significant woodland and riparian habitat for endangered species.
Conservation Commission / Ad Hoc / LUC
2 years
Medium

b. Work with landowners to develop acceptable ways of protecting their property rights as well as protecting the wildlife areas on their property.
Conservation Commission / Ad Hoc / LUC
2 years
High

c. Extend the shore land zone protections around Deer Meadow Brook to protect the significant wildlife corridor that now exists in this unfragmented area.
Conservation Commission / Ad Hoc / LUC
2 years
High

Goal: Newcastle should promote growth in the town's economic base using Smart Growth principles of protecting natural resources and minimizing commuter travel.

Objective 1: Concentrate the industrial development in the light industry Route 1 District.

a. Consider restrictions for commercial development in the rural district.
Land Use Committee
1 year
High

Objective 2: Promote high-density development areas with mixed residential and commercial elements to support pedestrian based village centers.

a. Reduce the lot size and setback restrictions and modify restrictions on commercial establishments in the residential sections of the high density development overlay district
Land Use Committee
1 year
High

Goal: Newcastle should maintain the intended character of each district.

Objective 1: Ensure that local signs are consistent with the character of the neighborhood.

a. Review the Newcastle sign ordinance periodically for appropriateness of sign size and type.
Planning Board / Land Use Committee
2 years
Medium

PARKS AND RECREATION

Goal: Newcastle should provide recreation opportunities for all our residents and visitors.

Objective 1: Improve our town’s ability to respond to the changing recreation needs in Newcastle.

a. Establish a recreation committee whose task is to monitor recreation facilities and the demand for new facilities. This committee’s first task should be to determine where our town could best spend its scarce recreation resources to meet the changing needs of our residents.
Selectmen / Recreation Committee
1 year
High

b. Support retional opportunities to provide a wide range of indoor recreation opportunities to residents in the Newcastle-Damariscotta region. Other partners in this project could include municipalities, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses.
Selectmen / Recreation Committee
5 years
Low

c. Create a map showing parks and other recreational facilites in Newcastle.
Recreation Committee
2 years
Medium

Objective 2: Respect private recreation opportunities and encourage their continued use.

a. The Recreation Committee should create a public-awareness campaign that encourages responsible and respectful access to the large number of private recreation resources in our town. Newcastle residents rely heavily on the generosity of these landowners for access to the landscape.
Recreation Committee
5 years
Medium

b. The Recreation Committee should recruit a local volunteer organization to monitor the use of private recreation resources and resolve conflicts when they arise.
Recreation Committee
1 year
Medium

Objective 3: Maintain and upgrade the public recreation facilities in Newcastle

a. Where the demand exists, Newcastle should seek off-street parking facilities at well-used recreation areas or when roads are rebuilt in the vicinity of recreation areas.
Selectmen / Recreation Committee
5 years
Medium

b. The town should maintain its parks and public spaces to ensure they are in good condition, accessible, and safe.
Recreation Committee
1 year
High

c. The town should seek to create public recreation parks in each of the town’s villages. Available parks are integral to the viability of our villages.
Recreation Committee
5 years
Medium

Objective 4: Improve the safety of pedestrian/bicycle facilities in the community

a. Improve sidewalk networks in the villages to ensure safer pedestrian conditions, especially along high-speed road corridors.
Road Commission / Selectmen
5 years
High

b. Expand the width and number of bicycle shoulders on our town’s main roads. These shoulders will improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and improve our quality of life.
Road Commission / Selectmen
5 years
Medium

HISTORIC AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESOURCES

Goal: Our town should preserve the historic and archaeological resources of our community and region.

Objective 1: Increase the awareness of historic and archaeological resources in our town.

a. Develop an inventory of our town’s historic structures and villages. This information should be assembled and printed in a catalogue for public distribution.
Historical Society
1 year
High

b. Support the creation of a regional historic society to preserve artifacts and raise the public’s awareness of our region’s history.
Historical Society
5 years
Low

Objective 2: Protect the historic and archaeological resources in our town.

a. Require Phase 1 surveys of historic and archaeological resources during site plan review. This will help ensure that new development does not adversely impact important historic and/or archaeological resources.
Planning Board
1 year
High

NATURAL RESOURCES: LAND, FRESHWATER AND MARINE

Goal: Newcastle should work to protect the land, water and wildlife resources upon which our town’s rural beauty and economy depends.

Objective 1: The town should protect and improve the quality of surface and subsurface water.

a. Explore mechanisms for identifying and correcting malfunctioning septic systems in town.
Land Use Committee / CEO
3 years
Medium

b. Encourage use of ecologically sound, alternative septic waste treatment systems.
Land Use Committee / Conservation Commission
5 years
Low

c. Actively support regional management efforts for improving pollution reduction efforts in the DamariscottaLake, DamariscottaRiver and the SheepscotRiver watersheds.
Conservation Commission
1 year
High

d. Improve aquatic habitat in Newcastle’s streams by maintaining stream continuity and repairing and replacing barriers to aquatic organism passage as roads are repaired.

e. To ensure adequate long-term protection of aquatic and riparian habitats, minimum distances between a waterway and any development should be increased from the state minimum to a greater distance set by the town.

f. Develop new land use standards and enforce them regarding land clearing, the use of fertilizers and pesticides and requiring dig permits before starting dirt disturbance projects.
Land Use Committee / Planning Board / CEO / Ad Hoc Builders & Developers
2 years
Medium

g. Work with DOT and local contractors to minimize phosphorous release from soils during regular road maintenance activities.
Road Commission / Conservation Commission / CEO / DOT
1 year
High

h. Enforce the storm water, soil erosion and sedimentation ordinances to reduce phosphorous and other nutrient release, especially in the lake watersheds.
Conservation Commission / CEO
1 year
High

i. Extend the public sewer system to protect water quality in areas of higher density development.
Land Use Committee / Selectmen / GSB District
5 years
Medium

Objective 2: Protect and preserve important natural resources.

a. Preserve and protect rare plants and unique natural areas.
Conservation Commission / Land Use Committee / CEO
3 years
Medium

b. Preserve and protect deer wintering areas.
Conservation Commission / Land Use Committee / CEO
3 years
Medium

c. Preserve wading bird and waterfoul habitat.
Conservation Commission / Land Use Committee / CEO
3 years
Medium

d. Preserve and protect endangered species and habitats.
Conservation Commission / Land Use Committee / CEO
3 years
Medium

e. Preserve wetlands, including vernal pools, and prevent their deterioration from filling and pollution.
Conservation Commission / Land Use Committee / CEO
3 years
Medium

f. Encourage communication and coordination with state, regional, and private organizations for the preservation, protection, conservation and enhancement of fish and wildlife resources.
Conservation Commission
5 years
Medium

g. Reduce nighttime light pollution by encouraging sensitive site lighting design.
Conservation Commission / Land Use Committee / CEO
3 years
Medium

Objective 3: The town should assure that agricultural and forestry activities can continue as a viable part of the local economy.

a. Ensure better enforcement of existing forest cutting regulations.
Conservation Commission / CEO
1 year
High

b. Develop incentives through local ordinances for the preservation of farmlands.
Land Use Committee / Selectmen
3 years
Medium

c. Encourage the use of state-sponsored programs for the preservation of farmland and forestland. The Sheepscot River Focus Area is currently eligible to receive Landowner Incentive Program funding to help finance land acquisition and habitat enhancement.
Conservation Commission / Land Use Committee / Selectmen
3 years
Medium

d. Safeguard the right to farm.
Conservation Commission / Land Use Committee / Selectmen
3 years
Medium

MARINE RESOURCES

Goal: Newcastle should promote the health and husbandry of its marine resources.

Objective 1: Protect and improve the water quality of estuaries.

a. Work with local conservation organizations and with state agencies to reduce runoff and prevent overuse of the marine environment through multiple users.
Conservation Commission / Shellfish Committee
2 years
Medium

b. Work with local conservation organizations, regional and state agencies to create a septic pump-out station at the town landing.
Conservation Commission / Shellfish Committee / Harbormaster
2 years
High

Objective 2: Encourage appropriate fisheries for marine species.

a. Work with local conservation organizations, shellfish wardens and Maine DMR to assure appropriate husbandry of the marine ecosystem is considered in utilizing individual resources.
Conservation Commission / Shellfish Committee
3 years
Medium

Objective 3: Promote adequate access to the estuaries.

a. Work with neighboring towns to assure adequate access is maintained, or increased for shore-based fishing, vessel launching and landing facilities.
Shellfish Committee
3 years
Medium

FISCAL CAPACITY

Goal: Our town should maintain a relatively stable property tax burden while providing a high level of community services and facilities

Objective 1: Improve planning for and financing of capital investments.

a. The town selectmen or town administrator should prepare a six-year capital investment plan (CIP) to present at each annual Town Meeting. This CIP should include items to be purchased, how they will be financed, and what the projected impact will be on the town’s tax rate.
Selectmen / Finance Committee
1 year
High

b. The Town should continue to use debt financing for capital investments. This helps decrease fluctuations in the tax rate and allows the town to pay off capital investments as it uses them.
Selectmen / Finance Committee
5 years
Medium

Objective 2: Actively explore alternative funding, including grants, Tax Increment Financing, and private fundraising for needed capital expenditures.

a. Assign task forces to research cost estimates and funding alternatives for major capital investments.
Selectmen / Finance Committee
1 year
High

Objective 3: Ensure that all major developments will result in net additional revenue to the community after increased service demands resulting from the development.

a. The Planning Board should require a fiscal impact analysis as part of the development review process for all major residential and nonresidential development.
Planning Board / Finance Committee
5 years
Medium