Maine Association of Planners Announces 2023 Annual Awards for Planning Excellence

The Maine Association of Planners recognizes excellence in planning each year. At the annual meeting on June 2, 2023, at the University of Maine Augusta, the Maine Association of Planners bestowed the following awards:

Plan of the Year

Connect 2045: A Long-Range Transportation Plan for Greater Portland, Maine, prepared by the Greater Portland Council of Governments

The plan envisions that “All people have access to transportation choices that are safe, reliable, and environmentally responsible. The transportation system optimizes infrastructure, reduces harm to the environment, and supports great places and a thriving economy.” It is broken down into six big goals that express the breadth of criteria for excellence in planning including equity, placemaking, environmental protection and expanding choices.


Project of the Year

Durham Resource Protection District Realignment Project

This project provides an example of a small, rural town with limited resources using technology and readily available data to develop precision in its zoning requirements and make them defensible politically and legally. It also provides an example of a community using the Beginning with Habitat data to identify and prioritize its natural resource protection programs. Finally, it highlights the importance of coordination and cooperation of the boards and committees (Conservation Commission, Planning Board, and Select Board) in finalizing the major overhaul of the Town’s zoning framework for Town Meeting.


Professional Planner of the Year

The MAP Awards Committee awarded the 2023 Professional Planner of the Year to Rick Harbison.

Rick has had a great couple of years completing significant plans, including the Connect 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan. Rick is a Senior Planner with the Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG). His nomination notes that he “embodies everything that a great planner should be – he’s strategic, creative, analytical, and he’s a great communicator and listener. Rick truly believes that “good planning doesn’t happen at the desk.” Above all, Rick is extremely dedicated to his work and the communities he serves.”


Citizen Planners of the Year

The Town of Elliot proposed that two citizen planners share the 2023 Citizen Planner of the Year Award. Christine Bennett and Carmela Braun are recognized for years of services to the Town of Eliot serving in leadership roles in the Planning Board and Comprehensive Planning Committee.


Lifetime Achievement Awards

MAP recognized four seasoned and recently retired planners for Lifetime Achievement Awards:

Theo Holtwijk

Theo came to Maine from the Netherlands by way of England. He employed his Master’s Degree in Regional Planning and Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture to the benefit of towns including Falmouth, Brunswick and Sanford. He also lectured at USM, Bates and the Maine College of Art and received the 2017 MAP Professional Planner of the Year.


Brian Kent

Brian came to Maine by way of South Africa. He employed his skills in planning and landscape architecture to create nationally recognized plans, including a National American Planning Association (APA) Award for the Land Use Handbook, a five-volume series of citizen planning publications. His projects have won multiple MAP awards including:

  • Attean Township Plan Cultivating Maine’s Agricultural Future
  • The Great American Neighborhood” with Terrance DeWan
  • The Lake Book, Actions You Can Take to Protect Your Lake.
  • “Life-time Achievement Award” Grow Smart Maine 2017.
  • MAP Professional Planner of the Year


Terry Dewan

Accolades also go to Terry for his many award winning efforts in Maine, including

  • MAP award winning publication “The Great American Neighborhood” with Brian Kent
  • Planning for Maine’s Energy Future with the Downeast LNG VIA and Bangor Hydro-Electric VIA
  • Scenic Inventories: Penobscot Bay, Islesboro, Vinalhaven, North Haven
  • Route 27 Scenic Inventory & Management Plan


Jane Lafleur

Jane has carried a lot of water for MAP, for MidCoast Maine and for the principal of inclusion and participatory planning in Maine.

For many years Jane was the CEO of Friends of Midcoast Maine. She carried the participatory nature of planning to become the Senior Director of Market Development for the Orton Family Foundation and their flagship program called Community Heart & Soul. She also ran her own consulting businesses, JB Lafleur Consultants. Jane was awarded the MAP 2015 Professional Planner of the Year.