ORONO, Maine — The Orono Comprehensive Planning Committee invites the community to weigh in on defining issues and opportunities during a public forum Wednesday at the municipal building.
During the session, which runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the council chambers, the committee will roll out several high-priority issues identified during an “issue spotting” session held in November as well as through the committee’s own research, Town Planner Evan Richert said Tuesday.
The discussions are part of the town’s effort to draft a new comprehensive plan, a project that town officials hope to complete in 2014, he said.
Richert said that Wednesday’s forum is the first of two planned this year during which the comprehensive plan panel will seek guidance from the public on how to approach some of the major issues involving economic development, municipal services and housing, among other topics. The next forum will be held on June 6.
Among the issues the committee believes will help decide the town’s future are a long-term decline in family-age households and school-age children in Orono and an apparent lack of affordable, in-town home ownership opportunities.
Also seen as critical are the needs to capitalize on the “creative economy” movement, build more economic development opportunities around the innovation coming out of the University of Maine, and keep up with infrastructure improvements in the face of an already high tax rate.
“Here’s what we think is going on. We want to test this with the citizens and see if they agree,” Richert said.
For information about the comprehensive plan update and other development and planning matters, visit http://planning.orono.org/comprehensive_plan_update.