November 6, 2001

 

TO:  Will Johnston, Senior Planner, State Planning Office

 

FROM:  Rick Seeley, Senior Planner, GPCOG

 

SUBJECT:  Regional Review of 2001Frye Island Comprehensive Plan

 

Pursuant to your request, as part of the State Planning Office’s official review process, I have reviewed the 2001 Frye Island Comprehensive Plan and am now writing to return the results of that review.  Pursuant to Chapter 201 of the Executive Department rules governing comments by regional councils I have organized my comments into sections.  These are: findings, objections, recommendations, and suggestions. 

 

General

 

Findings.  In general, the plan identifies regional issues, includes GPCOG’s regional goals from its 1990 regional plan, “Planning for the 1990’s and Beyond”, includes a policy section on regional coordination, adopts local regional coordination goals, policies and strategies on a topic by topic basis, and provides important data and cites study results on important regional resources and issues.  

 

The principal regional issue identified by the plan is the protection of Sebago Lake, both for its local and regional value as water resource, and recreation resource, and for its regional value as the public water supply for Portland.

 

Other regional coordination issues identified and addressed by the Plan include:

¨       Route 302 corridor

¨       Regional cooperation with the Town of Raymond

¨       Solid waste disposal, recycling, hazardous waste

¨       Police protection

¨       Lake level of Sebago Lake

¨       Emergency management

¨       Education

¨       Consistency with policies of the GPCOG regional plan

 

GPCOG’s review of each of these categories follows.

 

Water Resources

 

Findings.   The comprehensive plan does a good job of outlining current water quality, the court-imposed limitation on build-out of the island, and current measures being taken by the Town and the Portland Water District to protect water quality.  These measures and some new ones called for by the Plan are reflected in the policy section and in the implementation strategies section. 

 

Policies called for include:

 

¨       Objective:  Maintaining the water quality in Sebago Lake so that it exceeds the State’s GPA water quality classification standard, by

o      Educating citizens on ways to preserve water purity, including DEP phosphorus control methods

o      Providing adequate wastewater disposal facilities for boaters

o      Improving storm water management procedures

o      Encouraging citizens to practice erosion control on beachfronts

o      Keeping shoreland zoning consistent with State Guidelines

o      Trying to replicated DEP phosphorus controls as described in the DEP manual, “Phosphorus Control in Lake Watersheds”

o      Cooperating with the 6 shoreline neighboring towns in the Sebago Lake watershed to protect water quality

o      Limiting development of slopes exceeding 25%

 

Also, in the Critical Resources policy section, the following policies have significance for lake water quality protection:

 

Goal: Protect and preserve quality of existing streams

Objective:  Follow the standards of 38 MRSA, Sec. 465. … “The habitat shall be characterized as free flowing and natural.”

o      Investigating the need for a Stream Protection District for all island perennial streams, including their headwaters

o      Developing standards for storm water management

o      Developing erosion and sedimentation control standards for all Town lots, roads and ditches

o      Encouraging lot owners whose slopes exceed 25% to institute necessary erosion control procedures

Objective: Protect and preserve wetlands, wildlife and unique natural communities

o      Limiting development filling and draining of natural habitats

o      Consult IFW for recommendations on wildlife protection

o      Exploring establishing a Conservation Commission

Objective: Prevent loss of public or private shoreland due to lake-induced erosion

o      Encouraging water sports enthusiasts to observe state speed limits

o      Applying for a 319 grant to coordinate with the DEP and PWD to implement shoreland erosion control with a priority to the western shore of the island.

 

Also in the policy section for Roads:

o      The long range Town Road Upgrade and Maintenance Plan shall: include project phasing; formal design standards to include use of BMP’s…

 

Also in the policy section for Utilities:

o      Insuring adherence to state and local regulations in construction and maintenance of septic systems

o      Establishing a Town ordinance for periodic septic tank inspection and maintenance

In the regional coordination section of the policy section, the Town recounts but does not call explicitly for continuation of the following existing policies:

o      Frye Island participates in an annual household hazardous waste collection day with the Towns of Raymond, Casco and Naples

o      The Town has an agreement to transfer up to 25,000 gallons per year of septage to the Portland Water District for treatment.

o      The Town should participate in any future hearings on dam operations controlling the level of Sebago Lake

o      Critical preventive and restoration action is needed for a section of bluffs on the southwest side of the island

o      The Portland Water District has review authority for all development on the island

 

In the inventory and analysis section, the Town is listed as paying the ferry passage for parties pumping out their septic system. It is not clear if this policy is intended to continue.  However, the Plan does have a strategy of paying the ferry passage for those who are implementing erosion controls along the shoreline.

 

Lastly, the Town also has an implementation strategy section that assigns responsibility for implementing each of the above policies to particular parties and establishes a timeframe for their accomplishment.  Also included is a strategy that calls for compliance with the Maine Source Water Protection Act notification requirements.

 

Objections:  None.

 

Suggestions.

1.  The plan revision could cite the existence of Portland Water District studies that have calculated effective phosphorus control levels for each municipality in the direct watershed of Sebago Lake.  The DEP already applies these in other municipalities within the Sebago Lake watershed where there are large projects subject to review under the Site Law.  No such developments occur on Frye Island, but since the PWD is involved in local review decisions, this does not appear to be a problem.

 

2.  Recent amendments to the Growth Management Law have repealed the requirement that local subdivision ordinances be based on policies contained in the comprehensive plan.  However, local subdivision ordinances or regulations must still be consistent with the State Subdivision Statute.  So, while it is no longer necessary for Towns to list that their subdivision ordinance should require phosphorus review in Great Pond watersheds, the Town still is required to incorporate local standards that do this into their subdivision ordinance.

 

One model for subdivision ordinance language that can be used to establish phosphorus controls for subdivisions in a manner consistent with the Subdivision statute is contained in the “Model Subdivision Regulations for use by Maine Planning Boards”, 11th edition, published in December 1996 and available from GPCOG.  Whether this model is sufficient for implementing all or part of the PWD recommendations should be checked before using or, as needed, modifying it or adding to it.

 

Route 302 corridor

 

The Town’s continued participation in the regional “302 Corridor and You” project is listed as a Warranted Transportation Action in the Plan.  A corresponding strategy is listed in the Implementation Strategies section, roads subsection, assigning responsibility on an ongoing basis to the Town Manager, the Planning Board, the Selectmen and the Board of Island Trustee’s Executive Board.

 

Objections:  None.

 

Suggestion:  If the Town does not already have a designated representative who can speak for all these groups, it might make communications on the study clearer if one individual was so designated and the other groups worked through that person to coordinate input. Also, the regional coordination section of the Plan acknowledges the impact of 302 on Frye Island, but does not mention the impact of Frye Island on 302.  The Town should become aware of its own impact and consider listing some type of seasonal peak or average traffic volume in the Plan to quantify that impact.

 

Regional cooperation with the Town of Raymond

 

Cooperation with the Town of Raymond is planned in three principal areas: 

 

Transportation

 

The Town lists shared maintenance responsibility for the Raymond Cape Road as a Warranted Town Action in the Plan.  Also, the Plan asserts that the Town ferry landing on the Raymond side is fully consistent with Raymond zoning requirements. 

 

Emergency Dispatch and Fire/Rescue

 

The Plan calls for regional coordination with Raymond by continuing annual contracts for services not within the Town of Frye Island’s capability, including emergency dispatch and fire and rescue assistance.  Fyre Island does have a fire department and is continuing to expand it as reflected in the CIP.  Also, there is a set of implementation strategies that assigns responsibility and a timeframe for continuing this cooperative arrangement. 

 

Schools

 

The need for this kind of planning with Raymond was a contingency based on the scenario in which the Legislature would allow Frye Island to withdraw from SAD 6. Since the plan was written the Legislature has decided to require that the Town stay a member of SAD 6.  So this option of planning with Raymond is unlikely to be utilized.

 

Objections:  None.

 

Suggestions:   Although the planned addition of a third ferry boat to the service has no direct land use impacts in Raymond, the Town and Frye Island, Inc. (FII) should consider how it will provide for adequate parking for any increase in vehicles parked on the Raymond side as part of this project and should consider soliciting involvement of the Town of Raymond and local Raymond abutters in the planning process as part of its regional coordination with the Town of Raymond.

 

Solid waste disposal, recycling, hazardous waste

 

There are four areas of cooperation with off-island entities involved in this subsection:

 

Solid Waste Disposal

 

The Town just signed a five-year contract with MERC for solid waste disposal.

 

Recycling

 

The Town hires Pine Tree Recycling to place and remove dumpsters at cost.

 

Household Hazardous Waste

 

The Town participates and plans to continue participating in the Household Hazardous Waste Day organized by Raymond, Naples and Casco. 

 

Septage Removal and Disposal

 

As noted under water quality the Town has an existing agreement with the PWD that they will take up to 25,000 gallons of septage at their municipal treatment plants. 

 

Objections:  None

 

Police protection

 

The Plan calls for continuing and expanded contractual relationships with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office for at least 3 deputies during the high season.  It also assigns this responsibility properly in the implementation strategies section.  Both the policies and strategies call on those assigned to find other means if the Sheriff’s Office cannot provide enough qualified personnel to meet this objective.  Other options listed include appointment of Town Constables.

 

Objections:  None.

 

Lake level of Sebago Lake

 

This is a thorny issue with a long history and an agreement in place.  To the extent that it becomes a problem in the future, the Town plans to remain involved as a party to further interaction.  However, there is no assignment of this responsibility in the implementation strategies section of the plan. The current agreement is not to this reviewer’s knowledge under discussion for any changes, and the Town is actively and specifically addressing shoreline erosion with other strategies. 

 

Objections:  None. 

 

Suggestion:  If this issue is reopened the Town should assign either its new conservation commission or those already assigned to getting a 319 grant for shoreline erosion BMPs to the job of responding to the erosion potential of the lake level question.  It could also be taken up in the context of the strategy that calls on local boards to cooperate with the 13 other towns in the direct watershed of Sebago Lake to protect the lake water quality.

 

Emergency management

 

The Plan calls on the Town to develop a local emergency management plan and a local evacuation plan, coordinating with state, county and Raymond emergency management and evacuation plans. This is true at the policy and the strategy level.

 

Objections:  None.

 

Suggestion:   In addition to emergency management planning, the Town should also consider hazard mitigation planning.  This can help coordinate land use and public facility planning so as to reduce current and future flood hazard and other kinds of hazard to lives and property, while reducing local flood insurance premiums if the Town participates in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System.

 

 

Education

 

As noted  earlier, the Legislature has settled this issue for the foreseeable future.

 

Objections: None.

 

Consistency with policies of the GPCOG regional plan

 

This reviewer agrees that the regional coordination policies contained in the Frye Island Comprehensive Plan are not inconsistent with the policies contained in the GPCOG Regional Plan for the 1990s.