March 22, 2024

Raymond Future Land Use Workshop packs house

By Kendra Raymond

Raymond residents gathered Tuesday evening at the Public Safety building to take part in the Future Land Use workshop. The standing-room-only crowd arrived eager to learn about the project progress and voice questions and concerns about the town’s direction. The event promised to address future conservation, growth, and development in Raymond.

 Displays about different transportation and town scenarios 
were available for review at a Future Land Use meeting
for Raymond's new Comprehensive Plan held on 
Tuesday evening in the town.
Ben Smith, Sam Peikes, and Kate Burch of Northstar Planning facilitated the presentation. Stations were set up throughout the space, featuring maps of the town and opportunities for focused input by attendees. Tools such as sticky notes and happy/sad faces were available for residents to share thoughts on the maps provided. Members of the Comprehensive Plan Committee were also present and available to provide information and to answer questions.

Northstar representatives presented an overview of the comprehensive planning process.

“The Comprehensive Plan is a guide for future zoning decisions,” Smith said. “It is an official primary document including values, vision, future land use.”

The Future Land Use plan is just another step in the progression of the Town of Raymond’s Comprehensive Plan and vision statement. It translates community vision into a map.

“It will tie the vision with geography to form a detailed picture of what people want to see in Raymond,” Peikes said. “This is a framework to view Raymond’s future and where development will take place.”

Three land use scenarios including conservation, village, and transportation corridors were presented.

Burch said this is a nuanced future land use plan to help guide Raymond in the future.

Conservation Scenario

This land use approach has a conservation focus, protecting natural resources as much as possible, with the highest protection zones in North Raymond and on the Raymond Cape. It would include strict regulations on shorefront development. With a focus on outdoor economy, residents would continue to travel outside Raymond for work and shopping. Growth would be in already-developed areas such as Route 302.

“This will minimize development on lakes, ponds, and undeveloped land,” Bruch said.

A year-round multi-use trail system would connect conserved land and water bodies.

Villages Scenario

The village focused land use plan will develop historical walkable villages throughout the town. These areas are multiple centers of activity around the town that are close to where people live. Each village area would grow individually and could include businesses and shops. This plan would require advanced wastewater and sewage establishment. It would include parks and public spaces and increase housing diversity, sidewalk improvements and potential for transportation services as well as large undeveloped blocks of the town that would remain conserved.

Transportation Corridors Scenario

The corridor’s focused goal is to have less concentrated growth with upgrades along Route 302 and existing village areas. There would be limited change in rural areas. It would improve how residents get around town. Growth would focus on Routes 302, 85, and 121 with major investments in roads in infrastructure. This plan would include sidewalks and a multi-use bike path on Route 302. Opportunities for increased housing on 302 such as multi-units and smaller apartments in village areas.

Workshop participants presented some tough questions to Northstar representatives.

One resident said that it is a nightmare to get on and off Route 302, especially in the summer. They would like to get the concentration away from the route, noting that all the scenarios start with growth along Route 302.

A resident with road construction experience mentioned that much of the summer traffic is simply passing through, either to Naples, Bridgton, or the White Mountains and that maybe a bypass would be a good idea.

Another attendee referred to the results of the recent Raymond Comprehensive Plan survey, noting that a substantial percentage of residents were worried that too much development could pose a threat to quality of life.

A large contingency opposing the solar farm proposed on the Raymond-Casco line was present. Neighbors expressed opinions about the safety of wetlands and potential zoning changes.

Data was presented showing that from 2015 to 2022 there were 256 building permits for residential construction and only two commercial construction building permits were issued with minimal growth on Main Street and Route 302.

While there is no right or wrong choice, aspects of each scenario can be combined. The CPC is looking for residents to weigh-in on the various land use futures of Raymond. The CPC will distribute surveys via email soon. To receive an invitation, you must sign up to receive Comprehensive Plan emails.

Visit the Raymond Comprehensive Plan website here for more information or to sign up for email updates: <

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