The Maine Association of Planners is proud to represent planners and others involved in planning across this great state. One of the best contributions we can make to support planning is to connect and support our professional planning community. 

Maine is a big state and the planning community is a busy bunch. The Planner Profiles series gives us a chance to meet each other and learn about our skills, interests, and experiences online.

Meet Noel Musson, Owner and Principal Planner at the Musson Group:


20 years


Owner and Principal Planner at the Musson Group

Tell us about your background:

I grew up on Mount Desert Island and went to college at the University of Maine. After working for a short time as a staffer for Congressman John Baldacci in his Bangor office I moved to Boston and worked at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. I attended graduate school at the Muskie School and have worked on the local, regional, and state levels. My first full time planning job was as the Planning Director in Harpswell. Since then, I’ve been working as a planning consultant on projects all over the state. I started The Musson Group about 10 years ago.

What led you into planning?

I’ve always had an interest in government and policy making. When I worked in the local congressional office, I got to see how this work can really help people. I also had a chance to drive around the state and learn about local issues by listening to conversations with constituents and sitting in on community meetings. At the Kennedy School, I had the chance to learn from leaders from around the country and the world. Planning seemed like the perfect combination of policy leadership and making a difference at the local level.

What is unique about planning in Maine?

Maine is such a great place for planning. There are so many needs and different ways to get involved with planning. As a planner in this State, your roles and responsibilities can really shift over time which keeps it very interesting. One day you can be working with a committee to design a public space, the next you are a policy analyst, or mediator, or even a community organizer.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

I think at the end of the day, one of the most rewarding parts of planning is the chance to help people write the story of their communities. Whether working on a comprehensive plan, or developing rules, or working on specific development projects, we are helping write a story about a place. We get to engage people in the fundamental questions about what makes that place special, what’s working, what isn’t. Then we get to help craft the vision for the future and, if we are lucky, we get to help implement that vision.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

Lately, one of the most challenging aspects of our work is building consensus. A lot of the issues we are working on – housing, climate, development – can be very emotional or polarizing. Building a process where there is room for people to stop and recognize the common ground can be very challenging and time consuming. But very important to better outcomes.

Tell us about your dream project – what kind of planning work would you like to be more involved with?

Currently we are working on a lot of projects related to maintaining year-round community (housing, economy, etc.), mainly at the local level. I’d love to be more involved with finding appropriate state and regional tools that will help with solutions to those issues. I also really enjoy working on projects where I’m involved from the concept phase through the construction phase.

What is your niche or main expertise?

Overall, I’d classify myself as more of a professional generalist with a wide range of skills, and the ability to understand, and articulate, how a variety of topics fit together. I tend focus my work on small to medium size communities or on specific projects. I’ve also had a lot of experience working on coastal planning and tourism related planning issues.

Contributed by:

Noel Musson

Noel Musson has almost twenty-five years of experience working on planning, economic development, and permitting projects. He holds a Master’s Degree in Community Planning and Development from the Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, and a BA in Political Science from the University of Maine. He is Owner and Principal Planner at the Musson Group.