The town’s planning department is in a state of transition following the resignations of the town planner and assistant in the last two weeks.
Now former town planner Chris DiMatteo resigned his post the week of Oct. 30, according to Town Manager Kendra Amaral. Assistant Town Planner Rebecca Spitella will also be leaving, after accepting a position as the assistant city planner in Westbrook, which is closer to her home.
“This is obviously not a great position to be in, but it is one we work through,” said Amaral.
Amaral said she has already reached out to representatives of CMA Engineers and the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission to ensure the town will be able to offer planning services to applicants and provide support to the Planning Board whether that comes in the form of fill-in planning or other support services. Amara said she was working on the final details with both groups.
“CMA knows our code very well and they regularly help out with items before the Planning Board, so we have a stable of professionals we can turn to for help,” said Amaral. “I met with SMPDC about having fill-in services and support services so that we can ensure we are continuing to process applications that come in, we are providing customer service and we are providing the Planning Board the professional support required to do their jobs. The intention is we are not going to lose any step in that.”
Amaral said she would be seeking input from the Town Council and Planning Board about potentially making changes to the town planner and assistant town planner job descriptions in Title 2 of the town code. Before such a change could go into effect, the council would have to hold a public hearing on any potential changes, which Amaral said she would ask the council to schedule before the end of the year. She said both positions would not be filled until after the New Year holiday.
“I’ll ask what they think we need most out of the planning department, things that have worked in the past and what we can do better in terms of planning service,” said Amaral.
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