2019 Maine Association of Planners Annual Meeting and Conference

The 2019 MAP Annual Meeting and Conference was held on Friday, May 17, 2019 in Portland, Maine. The Annual Meeting and Conference included professional development sessions for planners and a business meeting for members with announcement and recognition of MAP annual award recipients and election of board members.


7:45-8:45         Registration & breakfast networking

8:45-9:00         Welcome

9:00-10:30       Keynote Panel: Law Updates & Current Issues

10:30-11:00     Break

11:00-12:30     Concurrent Workshops

Maine Vernal Pool Special Area Management Plan

The Maine Natural Resources Protection Act and the Maine Land Use Planning and Regulation Act (aka The Growth Management Act) are frequently at odds pitting natural resource protection and municipal goals for growth and development.  Vernal Pools are small ephemeral freshwater wetlands found throughout the Maine Landscape.  The Maine Vernal Pool Special Area Management Plan, an innovative mitigation tool, links these two statutes and provides benefits to long-term protection of vernal pools while incentivizing compact growth and development.  The Maine VP SAMP was developed through an extensive stakeholder process that included representatives from federal and state natural resource agencies, municipalities, conservation organizations, real estate professionals., wetland ecologists, natural resource economists, and social scientists.  When a municipality adopts the Maine VP SAMP, it acquires the authority to permit impacts to vernal pools within a specified Designated Development Area, a subset of its Growth Area, in exchange for landscape level conservation of vernal pools in its Rural Area.  In this session, you will learn more about vernal pools and what the latest research reveals about their links to the landscape along with details about how the Maine VP SAMP works and how it can be adopted for use at the municipal level.

Green Infrastructure: Downtowns & Commercial Corridors

This session will describe various important & achievable ways that towns can maintain and expand the green infrastructure in both existing and new commercial development areas.  The session will describe and illustrate many projects that serve as learning examples so that attendees will gain a broader and deeper understanding of how the green infrastructure in downtowns and highway commercial areas can be better implemented and maintained. Particular emphasis will be placed on trees, native shrubs, and their multiple benefits, but will also address best management practices for stormwater facilities, including rain gardens.

Planning Ethics

Ethical situations and the appropriate ethical responses are not always clear. How do planners navigate the sometimes choppy waters of ethical planning?  This session will examine not only the rules of conduct of the AICP Code of Ethics, and the aspirational principles planners should aim for in their work, as well as specific ethical challenges that planners may confront. It will provide strategies and techniques for planners on how to use the AICP Code of Ethics and APA Ethical Principles of Planning in thinking about, and responding, to ethical issues.  The session will cover how best to use these documents in your city or town government, other planning agencies, or your work place wherever it might be located.

Planning Through Loss: Why Towns De-organize

When a town or plantation can no longer sustain local government and services, the residents undertake a multi-year process to “deorganize.”  This requires permission from the legislature and a plan for how to deal with town assets and liabilities.  However, before and after that decision is finalized, there are important and painful local conversations that have effects than can last decades.  Deorganizations are linked to the larger picture of population shifts away from rural areas, and the increasing difficulty in sustaining basic services, so they also have implications at broader levels as county and state agencies step in to fill the role performed by local government.  The session will start with a brief overview of the mechanics of deorganization and the roles of various agencies.  Researchers will discuss the history and evolution of town deorganization and what it means for democratic life in the state and the rationale and reasons why towns choose this course of action.   A resident of a deorganized place will talk about the experience of the community members. Planners for the Unorganized Territory will discuss the human and professional planning experience of working with deorganizing communities to create a new zoning map at a time when the community members often cannot yet envision a new future.

12:30-2:30       Lunch, MAP Business Meeting & Awards (download detailed agenda)

  • Lunch Buffet
  • MAP/NNECAPA Reorganization Update
  • President & Board Committee Reports
  • Elections
  • Awards (see award winners)

2:30-4:00          Concurrent Workshops

Tools to Assess Sea Level Rise Impacts

Maine’s coastal communities face distinct challenges associated with the impacts of climate change, specifically sea level rise and coastal flooding. Rising sea levels and more frequent strong coastal storms impact infrastructure and community resilience in Maine’s coastal municipalities in many ways.  The Coastal Risk Explorer, developed by The Nature Conservancy, combines a customized social vulnerability index and an analysis of the impacts of sea level rise on road networks as critical lifelines for residents to access health and emergency response services.    This web-based tool highlights address locations cut-off as the result of inundation to the road network in conjunction with the social vulnerability of census block groups within its boundaries. Rising sea levels will also impact the assessed values of properties in the inundation zone with ramifications to a town’s overall assessed value.  Based on municipal assessing data, the Island Institute tool allows the user to ‘flood’ the landscape to estimate the impact from different water levels to individual parcels and to the town wide commercial and residential assessed value.  These two tools provide essential planning data for municipalities to prioritize adaptation actions and to increase community resilience.

Portland’s Eastern Waterfront: From Plan to Implementation

Portland’s planners and political leaders have been looking to the eastern waterfront of the City as a “downtown adjacent” area where new growth could be sustainable. This session looks at the plans put in place for redevelopment of the area, how those plans were put into action in public infrastructure and land use codes, and what lessons have been learned along the way.  Most anyone who was familiar with the east end of Portland’s waterfront ten years ago sees that there has been considerable redevelopment in that time. What most people don’t realize is that this investment is the result of City planning effort that paved the way for these changes. In 2004, the City approved an Eastern Waterfront Master Plan, with design standards and an accompanying height study. In 2015, the City adopted an India Street Sustainable Neighborhood Plan for most of the rest of this area, with an accompanying Form Based Code and historic district. Also at that time, the City completed the Eastern Waterfront rezoning by adding the historic Portland Company complex to the zone and creating a Portland Company historic district. This session will look at these planning efforts and land use regulations, and provide a survey of the results to date.

Across the Divide: Planners as Town Managers

This session is an informal and interactive panel discussion of the process of transitioning between town planning and town management.  Questions to be addressed include:  What's the difference? How do we plan from a managerial seat? How do we interact with our planning board, CEO, and inspectors. What do we wish we had learned in Graduate School? What can planners do to win manager's interest and support? What can managers do to win planner's interest and support?

4:00                   Conference close

4:30-6:00          Informal social hour at local eatery TBD

Download the MAP 2019 Annual Meeting Agenda and session descriptions.

AICP Credits pending for all workshops and keynote session


Thank you to our sponsors for making their support. 

Lead Sponsors
Developers Collaborative
State of Maine Municipal Planning Assistance Program
City of Portland Planning Department

Bronze Sponsors
Maine DoT
JB Lafleur Consultants

North Star Planning
Sebago Technics
Spatial Alternatives
Maine Downtown Center
GrowSmart Maine

The Musson Group