Hello to all -

Sharing my recap of the year, a good year for MAP! In 2023, MAP and the MAP Board saw success through our well-attended spring conference in Augusta, ongoing collaboration with many other Maine organizations in planning work, participation in NNECAPA Chapter activity and events, a strong presence in state-level policy development, and the hiring of our first administrative position to aid the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC).

Our spring conference was packed with energizing discussion on Asylum Seekers in Maine, Housing and Mobile Home Parks, and Legislative Policy updates. The MAP Board and LPC held a retreat in August to reflect on the past year or so, and start to think ahead about where to turn our attention and energy in the next couple years. This was an engaging conversation that lead to our focus at the Annual Meeting being gathering member’s input, as we set near-term priorities. The Board will also continue to work on establishing a more balanced budget, as we adjust to our new financial interconnectedness with NNECAPA and our own organizational goals such as maintaining administrative staff to support critical MAP programs.

We’re excited to see more and more new faces at our events (MAP spring conference, NNECAPA conference), and see new names in our membership list as we welcome planners new to Maine and new to planning! Our new planners help meet the critical need to fill jobs in both the public and private sectors, and bring fresh perspective and renewed energy to Maine planning. The MAP Board has discussed ways to improve opportunities for our new members to connect with other planners in Maine, and to be able to share knowledge with each other about professional planning resources.

Over the last few years, there has been a growing amount of state level activity in planning in Maine. The Governor's Office of the Policy Innovation and the Future (GOPIF), the Bureau of Resource Information and Land Use Planning (BRILUP) and other state agencies are working to build critical programs around climate resilience, land use planning, housing, and more. For many Planners, it’s been a long hard road to re-introduce critical planning perspectives at the state level, and address statewide issues like planning resources, technical support and funding. It can also be said that there is still much work to be done, and we support the development of more sustained resources and programs.

Policy work involves continuing outreach with many different organizations in Maine as we work to ensure the professional planner’s perspective is part of the state level discussion. Organizations like GrowSmart Maine and BuildMaine are also actively contributing to planning work in Maine, and the MAP Board and Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) have been working to try and maintain good communications and to partner with these organizations that support planning. Entities like Maine Municipal Association, Maine Real Estate Development Association, Maine Community Development Association, Maine Development Foundation, and many others all have a role in planning, and MAP’s goal is always to work collaboratively with these groups. We know that many MAP members are also members of these other organizations!

Items to keep in mind as we approach 2024:

  • MAP/NNECAPA membership continues to be a work-in-progress. Please note, APA no longer mails paper renewal notices, only email notices, so check your inboxes and spam folders. Remember your renewal date is whatever month of the year you originally signed on through APA. We ask members to be patient as MAP and NNECAPA work to keep membership and email lists up to date as best we can, and encourage you to be proactive in maintaining your membership status. MAP receives updated membership lists from APA quarterly, and there can be a lag in getting member’s information (address, email) and occasionally we miss something. You can log in to your APA account to check your status and make sure your contact info is up to date, or reach out to our MAP Membership Secretary, Jim Fisher.
  • The MAP Board is actively seeking members’ input on MAP priorities for the near term, currently through an online survey and discussion/feedback at our Annual Business Meeting. As a small, volunteer-run organization, it’s critical to be strategic about where we expend our resources (mostly people/time).
  • We still have openings on the MAP Board, and there are several opportunities to participate on one of our boards/committees. As a volunteer-run organization, we encourage members to help keep this organization going by participating in one of our committees:
    • MAP Board
    • Spring Conference 2024 Committee
    • MAP Awards Committee
    • MAP Legislative Policy Committee
    • NNECAPA Conference Committee (three-state committee; 2024 conference is in VT)
    • NNECAPA Executive Committee (three-state committee)

We welcome anyone to get involved. Many hands make light work! Some of these can be short-term commitments if preferred; committees like Spring Conference or Awards don’t require you to be on the MAP Board and are only active in the spring months. As a Section of NNECAPA, we rely on MAP members to join NH and VT planners on those committees in support of the Chapter we are part of. If you’re interested but not sure, members can ask to join in on meetings to learn more before signing on at any time these committees are active. Join your planning peers, help us engage in meaningful planning work in Maine and Northern New England! And if you are already involved, THANK YOU!

Written by:

Amanda Bunker

Amanda is a planning consultant and current President of the Maine Association of Planners.