Comprehensive Plan - Adopted 2018

The 2018 Comprehensive Plan updates and replaces the version adopted at Town Meeting in 2002. It follows requirements of the Maine Growth Management Act (30-A M.R.S.A. §§ 4312- 4350) and the Maine Comprehensive Plan Review Criteria Rule (07-105 CMR 208). The Plan has been reviewed by the State Department of Conservation, Agriculture, and Forestry and been deemed consistent with Maine’s growth management laws. It is organized to enable the citizens of Durham to easily access key information needed to guide future decisions regarding the direction of our community. This plan explores important land use issues and casts a vision for what the residents want Durham to be as a community in the next decade and beyond.

The links on this page contain the adopted 2018 Comprehensive Plan update approved by voters at the April 6, 2019 Town Meeting

Volume I: Complete Document

Executive Summary

The Executive Summary explains the organization of the new Comprehensive Plan. It states the facts and conclusions that led to drafting the proposed Future Land Use Plan and land use policies. The existing Land Use Plan, which is the 2004 Zoning Map, and the proposed Future Land Use Plan are presented for comparison. All of the proposed goals and policies from Section 2 are presented with a reference to Section 2 for the specific strategies, responsibility, and time frames for implementation. Finally, the Executive Summary gives a synopsis of the rest of the Comprehensive Plan update sections, appendices, and an addendum for a future rate of growth ordinance.

Section 1: Vision & Future Land Use Plan

Section 1: Vision & Future Land Use Plan tracks the planning and public participation process that led to this Comprehensive Plan proposal and the vision it is intended to accomplish for Durham’s future. Section 1 also includes an analysis of the key land use issues we are facing and the general actions needed to preserve and protect the special qualities of our community. Finally, Section 1 presents a Future Land Use Plan that divides the community into areas that will be allowed and encouraged to develop at general rural densities and other “critical rural” areas that need special consideration because of the presence of high concentrations of important natural and cultural resources.

Section 2: Goals, Policies, and Strategies

Section 2: Goals, Policies, and Strategies sets out the path and process for accomplishing the community’s vision for our future. The main facts from the extensive inventory and analysis of Section 3 are presented with the comprehensive plan goals intended to achieve the vision set forth in the Future Land Use Plan. To accomplish those goals, general policies will be pursued for each of the topical areas covered by the inventory and analysis.  Specific strategies are recommended to implement those policies, and the Town officers or groups responsible for implementing them are provided with time frames for anticipated completion.

Volume II: Complete Document

Section 3: Topical Areas Inventory and Analysis

Section 3: Topical Areas Inventory and Analysis contains an analysis of data provided to the Town by the State Department of Conservation, Agriculture, and Forestry that must be reviewed and referenced in updating our Comprehensive Plan.  This data covers each of the topical areas for which the Comprehensive Plan update provides recommended goals, policies, and strategies.  The Greater Portland Council of Governments prepared this section that reviews the State data and local Durham conditions and trends.  

Section 4: Public Participation

Section 4: Public Participation contains the full results of the various public participation opportunities provided during this Comprehensive Plan update. Section 1 contains a summary of the results of the public participation process. The full tabulations of surveys and other public input are provided in Section 4. 

Section 5: Regional Coordination and Periodic Evaluation

Section 5: Regional Coordination and Periodic Evaluation addresses State requirements for working with surrounding Towns in the region to coordinate policies and strategies for shared systems like road networks that cross town boundaries and to review implementation and changing conditions in Town.

Appendix I

Appendix I: Maps contains the maps provided by the State that contain additional information upon which the Comprehensive Plan update goals, policies, and strategies are based.

Appendix II

Appendix II: Request for Exemption for Growth Areas provides an analysis of development densities in Durham to support our request for exemption from the State's requirement to designate one or more growth areas and adopt policies and financial plans to concentrate future growth and development in those limited areas while restricting growth elsewhere in Town.

Appendix III

Appendix III: Municipal Certification is a required statement signed by the Board of Selectmen verifying that the Comprehensive Plan update was approved by the voters at Town Meeting.

Appendix IV

Appendix IV: Durham voters approved a new Comprehensive Plan on April 6, 2019. As required by State law, that approved plan was submitted for review by the Maine Department of Forestry and Agriculture (DACF) to verify consistency with the Maine Growth Management Act that establishes requirements for development and adoption of comprehensive plans in Maine. As stated in the consistency letter from DACF, these recommendations from the State agencies are just that, and the Town does not need to follow them. The Comprehensive Plan Committee decided to add them as an appendix to Comprehensive Plan 2018 so that the information contained in them can be considered when implementation steps are taken along with all other relevant information and public input. That Appendix was adopted at a special Town Meeting on December 9, 2019.

Addendum I

Addendum I: Process for Updating the Comprehensive Plan and Adopting a Rate of Growth Ordinance is a "safety valve" that allows the Town to claim exemption from the requirement to designate growth areas while setting a clear policy and process for adopting a rate of growth ordinance if one is ever needed.