The Maine Association of Planners (MAP) presented its annual awards on May 12, 2017 at the Hilton Garden Inn Freeport Downtown during the MAP Annual Meeting and Conference.
Professional Planner of the Year Award: Theo Holtwijk
Mr. Holtwijk has served as the Director of Long Range Planning and Economic Development for the Town of Falmouth since 2007. From 1997-2007, he served as Brunswick’s Director of Planning and Development. Prior to that, he was the Planning Director of Sanford, Maine as well as the owner of his own Landscape Architecture and Planning firm. His career has been long and distinguished in both planning practice and in teaching, which has included several years as an adjunct professor at the USM Muskie School for Public Policy. Theo has received many well deserved awards and recognitions. Theo is tireless in his support and promotion of the profession and the practice of planning in Maine. He has been well respected in his community, by other planners, and by employers. His projects are well received by the community, because he works to ensure public engagement and public support, completes his homework and research, and supports his work with facts, knowledge and skill. He is influential and effective in his community and in the professional planning field.
Citizen Planner of the Year Award: Don Russell, Town of Topsham
Mr. Russell started his career as a citizen planner more than 45 years ago when he joined the Topsham Board of Appeals in 1969. Since then he has served on every conceivable committee and board in Topsham, sometimes multiple times or on several committees concurrently. Over these 45 years, Don has been a major force in helping to shape how Topsham should grow and change. The current Chairman of the Topsham Board of Selectman summarized it as follows: “Don has tirelessly worked to create a town (that) we have chosen as our home, now and in the future. He is always envisioning Topsham in the future through planning with a complete understanding of its past.”
Project of the Year Award: Belfast Rail Trail
The award was presented to the City of Belfast, the Coastal Mountain Land Trust, and Friends of Belfast Rail Trail and was accepted by Wayne E. Marshall, Belfast City Planner. In fall 2016, the 2.3 mile Belfast Rail Trail officially opened, after nearly 8 years of community effort. Located on the rail bed of the former Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad, the trail starts at Belfast’s working waterfront and runs along the Passagassawakeag River to the City Point Rail Station, home of the seasonal excursion railroad operated by the Brooks Historical Society. The Rail Trail is the third of three major pedestrian facilities which Belfast has invested in since 2005, all of which are interconnected. The project involved extensive public participation processes and public planning energy, and involved partnerships with Coastal Mountain Land Trust, local property owners (for easements) and Brooks Historic Preservation (City Point Rail Station). This trail was also made possible through the City’s perseverance in negotiating the use of the rail bed through “rail banking” to preserve future rail use potential.
Plan of the Year Award: “Legacy Lewiston,” Lewiston’s new Comprehensive Plan.
The Plan was prepared by Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative, LLC. The plan was recognized for how well it engaged the public, including a special effort to make the process accessible for those residents who are normally disengaged in city government, such as college students, youth, and the New Mainer community; and for the inviting, colorful, and engaging manner information was articulated in the final plan. Legacy Lewiston changed the way people in Lewiston relate to the planning of their community. It not only provides an excellent roadmap for where the community is headed, but also engages residents in such a way that hopefully many of them will continue to play an active role in implementing the shared vision for the future of their city in the years to come. The award was accepted by David Hediger, Deputy Director / City Planner. The complete plan can be viewed at http://www.lewistonmaine.gov
The judging criteria are those used by the American Planning Association (APA) and the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association (NNECAPA) awards programs. Winners will be encouraged to compete for the NNECAPA awards and the national planning (APA) awards.
MAP Life time Achievement Awards were also presented to Evan Richert, Chuck Lawton, Mark Eyerman, Frank O’Hara, Rodney Lynch (unable to attend), and Tom Martin (unable to attend).
Plan of the Year: Falmouth Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, Town of Falmouth
A plan that lays out prioritized recommendations for the next 20 years for non-motorized modes of transportation in the community. The complete plan can be viewed at http://www.falmouthme.org/bicycle-pedestrian-project.
Project of the Year: The Rural Business Development Zone, Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) & Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC)
The first collaborative planning effort for the LUPC’s new Community Guided Planning and Zoning (CGPZ) program, to create a new development subdistrict in the unorganized area of Aroostook County. The D-RB encourages creation of new, and growth of existing, rural businesses in Aroostook County and is available to applicants through a streamlined re-zoning process. The planning group determined where the new zone should be available, and developed a performance-based approach to categorizing and locating different scales and types of rural businesses within the zone, which provides additional flexibility for business owners. More information available at http://www.maine.gov/dacf/lupc .