Making History... and a Better Future


Published on

Citizens of Damariscotta, ME took charge of their town's future at a four-day Heart & Soul Community Planning charrette. Hundreds of participants gathered to share their opinions, critique design suggestions, and plan action steps to help Damariscotta grow without losing its character.

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Making History... and a Better Future

  1. 1. An initiative of the Damariscotta Planning Advisory Committee’s Heart & Soul Community Planning Project Damariscotta, ME October 22-26, 2009 © 2009
  2. 2. © 2009 Damariscotta, ME is a town with a rich past and a promising future. Its centuries-old Main Street and harbor retain their distinct coastal charm, and residents are fiercely committed to keeping Damariscotta a great place to work, live, and play.
  3. 3. © 2009 But Damariscotta has its challenges. Development controversies came to a head several years ago over a proposed big box store, and residents face many typical small-town challenges: finding jobs, managing traffic, supporting the economy, and maintaining local character.
  4. 4. © 2009 Damariscotta’s citizens have taken the future into their own hands with their Heart & Soul Community Planning process. After exploring community values, Damariscotta held a charrette to craft a vision for how the town will grow and change in the future. Over the course of four days, several hundred people attended events and shared their opinions.
  5. 5. <ul><li>The charrette built on earlier efforts by the Damariscotta Planning Advisory Committee (DPAC) to identify core community values. DPAC used a wide variety of activities to engage citizens, from community conversations to story gathering and interviews. </li></ul>© 2009
  6. 6. <ul><li>DPAC used the stories and interviews to identify core values shared by the community – values like access to nature and culture, ability to live and work locally, and a strong sense of community. At a pre-charrette meeting, attendees validated and prioritized those ideas. </li></ul>© 2009
  7. 7. <ul><li>More than 100 people participated in the charrette kick-off on a Thursday night in October, which focused on areas of town marked for future growth. Attendees discussed issues in small groups, marked up maps, and shared their hopes and concerns. </li></ul>© 2009
  8. 8. <ul><li>Over the following three days, the charrette team – architects, transportation engineers, retail consultants, designers, and other land use professionals – developed design scenarios for growth areas that incorporated residents’ values and vision for Damariscotta. </li></ul>© 2009
  9. 9. <ul><li>As the design team worked, residents participated in focus meetings to provide ideas on key issues like living and working locally. The charrette team then incorporated those ideas into the design process. </li></ul>© 2009
  10. 10. <ul><li>At the end of each day, charrette team members presented their designs and ideas in public pin-up sessions where the citizens could ask questions and make recommendations. </li></ul><ul><li>Designers worked into the evening and through the next day to incorporate the public’s ideas and prepare for the next day’s sessions. </li></ul>© 2009
  11. 11. <ul><li>Proposed design solutions included everything from a new green in front of the church and bike trails to zoning changes and reduced setbacks for retail businesses. </li></ul>© 2009
  12. 12. <ul><li>The team also developed 3-D visualizations and indicators for CommunityViz, a GIS-based software, which allowed people to evaluate the impact of design alternatives on citizens’ core values. </li></ul>© 2009
  13. 13. <ul><li>More than 100 people packed the Great Salt Bay School for the closing presentation. After three days of hard work, the charrette team presented refined designs for Damariscotta’s growth areas and participants rated their favorites using keypad polling. </li></ul>© 2009
  14. 14. <ul><li>The final charrette report is due out in January, 2010, but citizens are eager to get started; DPAC is creating a work plan and recruiting volunteers for early projects. Eventually, the Town will combine regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to make Damariscotta’s vision a reality. </li></ul>© 2009
  15. 15. © 2009 The Damariscotta Heart & Soul Community Planning is a partnership project of the Town of Damariscotta, Friends of Midcoast Maine and the Orton Family Foundation. This two-year project, led by the Damariscotta Planning Advisory Committee, aims to engage citizens in creating a vision for the town’s future and taking ownership for acting on that vision. Visit to learn more about this project.