By Kendra Raymond
The Town of Raymond is looking toward the future with the development of its first comprehensive plan since 2004 with a reimagination of the town’s vision.
North Star Planning has been hired to advise the Comprehensive Plan Committee as they lead the charge toward Raymond’s future. The town website tells us that the Comprehensive Plan combines your vision and values with the latest data to guide town policy in the future. The plan synergizes desires and needs of townspeople, focusing on issues related to housing, public facilities, and transportation.
The process should take two to three years to complete. A state certified comprehensive plan addressing 11 to 12 chapters is required in Maine.
The plan and vision statement will take into consideration the results from three surveys. The first survey was distributed this past summer and addressed general topics such as what residents like best about the town.
Peter Leavitt, a member of the CPC said the survey turnout was “a little disappointing,” with about a 5 percent response elicited from 206 residents.
The next two surveys will delve deeper into land use, economic and environmental issues. The committee is particularly interested in the residents’ vision of the town over the next 10 to 20 years.
They hope to learn what is important to residents, and what concerns they have on their minds. Would they like more public open space? Are additional services desired? The CPC is interested to hear what people would like to see revamped from the 2004 plan as well.
Part of the 2004 Vision Statement says, “In all likelihood, Raymond will continue to grow as long as it is a desirable community in which to live. It is the task of this generation to address that growth and to help assure that Raymond remains a wonderful place in which to live a full life and to raise a family for not only this, but also for successive generations. We hope the way in which we lead our lives will leave this community a better place than it was before we arrived. To this end, we endeavor to create this Comprehensive Plan.” While this part likely remains spot-on, more work will be needed to update the vision to address new developments in this current culture.
Querying the consensus of the survey, Leavitt said, “We love the rural nature of our town, the environment, and the lakes. School children told us their favorite part of Raymond is their back yard. There seems to be a great fondness for the town, a commitment to preserving its natural treasures, and excitement about the future.”
The Comprehensive Plan Committee, according to Leavitt, is a “good cross section of residents”, combining ages, demographics, and professions.
“We have retirees, like me, parents with kids in school, different professions, old and young, male and female,” he said.
The CPC is presently drafting a preliminary vision statement based on initial survey results, information shared in meetings, and input from lake and roadside associations.
“This is not our comprehensive plan,” Leavitt said. “This is the community’s comprehensive plan.”
Emphasizing the importance of survey participants, Leavitt says that the committee plans to provide more publicity with future surveys. The next survey will be released in early 2024.
Looking forward, the CPC plans a land use workshop in spring 2024. By summer, the committee hopes to announce the final vision statement and land use implementation plan. The final plan is anticipated to be presented by public hearing for state acceptance in late 2024.
The committee will host a public meeting on Jan. 20 at the Jordan-Small Middle School to share the preliminary vision statement and receive feedback from residents.
To learn more, visit https://www.raymondmaine.org/content/comprehensive-plan-committee.
A contact form is available on the website for residents to keep updated on the progress of the new Comprehensive Plan by email.
The CPC meets the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. All meetings are open to the public and available through ZOOM. <