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MARCH 2023 NEWSLETTER

Dear all,


We hope you are all doing well and fairing these back-to-back snowstorms. Here is our newsletter for the month. Also attached is an announcement on spending requests, and we are looking forward to hearing your input.

CDS Announcement
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Webinars

Genesis Fund Workshop on Housing

On March 22 at 1:00pm – 2:30pm, the Genesis Fund will hold a hybrid workshop at the Waldoboro Town Office (1600 Atlantic Highway) to discuss with municipalities on the process for attracting housing projects to communities interested in more housing proposals. This meeting is part of the Genesis Fund’s technical assistance contract that was awarded by MaineHousing back in December.

Please email Max at mjohnstone@midcoastcog.com for more details or to RSVP your attendance.


GPCOG Roundtable Discussion

GPCOG warmly invites its member communities, as well as its colleagues from the Midcoast Council of Governments (MCOG), to attend an online roundtable discussion with the Department of Economic and Community Development's Housing Opportunity Program Coordinators, Benjamin Averill and Hilary Gove, to talk about LD 2003 - An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions. This webinar will allow member communities to learn more about LD 2003 and ask questions prior to the public comment deadline on Monday, March 13, 2023, at 5:00 P.M. Registration is free and we encourage you to include any pre-webinar questions you may have in the associated registration form field or email them directly to mpanfil@gpcog.org.

When: Mar 9, 2023, R02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Topic: GPCOG Planning and Sustainability Roundtable: Discussion about LD 2003 with DECD Housing Opportunity Program Team

Register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Additional information, including the DECD’s LD 2003 Guidance Document and Proposed Rule is located at: https://www.maine.gov/decd/housingopportunityprogram


Purchase Programs

Law Enforcement Purchase Program

We are still waiting on communities to send in their invoices for reimbursement. We have sent out over $150,000 in requests. If you are a community/ county that has had funding allocated, please get us your invoices so we can reimburse you for your purchases. Please email your questions or comments to Max at mjohnstone@midcoastcog.com.


Cooperative Purchase

So far, Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) has only gathered estimates for basin cleaning, road striping, heating fuel, and transportation fuel. Please feel free to reach out to Max at mjohnstone@midcoastcog.com for any questions or to include anyone from your community/ county on this list.


Other Exciting News


Grant funding, technical assistance, and entrepreneurial training

MCOG signed the final agreement for our Economic Recovery Regional Hub award and are awaiting an executed agreement from DECD. In the meantime, staff continue to develop a workplan for deploying this $944,300 award, which will provide grant funding, technical assistance, and entrepreneurial training to new businesses (i.e., started or acquired on or after January 1, 2020) from Brunswick to Belfast.


Rising Tides, Safe Roads, Working Waterfronts, and Protected History: a pilot project to assess vulnerabilities and envision solutions kicks off in St. George

On a recent snowy evening, residents of St. George gathered to begin a unique project to find solutions for town roads that flood, working waterfronts facing climate-related challenges, and historic resources threatened by rising seas and increasingly intense storms.


Several town roads are currently flooding, and others are predicted to flood in the future. To address this important issue, MCOG wrote a Community Resilience Partnership Community Action Grant for St. George to undertake an innovative project with Sebago Technics that uses new technology to survey, model, and visualize expected flooding and explore options for adapting to rising water levels.


Since fishing is a key part of this community, MCOG is also partnering with St. George to provide information about our working waterfronts' economic and social value. We will examine how rising tides and more storms could impact infrastructure, jobs, and families. The goal is to help the St. George community strategize ways to invest, adapt and thrive.


Community engagement is key here and MCOG is taking the lead. Increased public awareness and participation are critical for prioritizing adaptation investments for roadways, working waterfronts, and historic resources. The project is expected to complete in early fall, 2023. When done, information on location, risks, and adaptation options will be available to residents, businesses, and decision-makers for future actions.

The project is supported by grants from the Community Resilience Partnership administered by the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Maine Coastal Program from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.


LD 2003

The state has published their rulemaking for LD 2003, and separate rules regarding grant funding. The information can be found through this link: https://www.maine.gov/decd/housingopportunityprogram. The public comment period for LD 2003 is currently active and will be ending on March 13th. MCOG senior planner Max Johnstone attended the March 1st public comment to hear, and echo support, to delay the July 1, 2023 deadline due to the constraint on municipalities to implement these rules in time. There are two pieces of legislation in committees to delay the implementation of LD 2003.


Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

MCOG has been working with communities on updating/ establishing new TIF Districts that aim to help capture the increase in value to help with town-wide economic development. There are still many people that have misconceptions on these programs and amendments made to the State statute for allowed uses. As part of the technical service, MCOG is available to discuss this program with communities that are interested in learning more. Based on the level of interest, this can also be a workshop similar to the Housing TIF that was conducted two years ago.

Please email Max at mjohnstone@midcoastcog.com for more information.


MCOG Stepping in for Damariscotta, Newcastle Planners

With the departure of their in-house Planner, both Damariscotta and Newcastle have called on MCOG to provide planning services for the towns. The work will focus on support for the respective planning boards, including reviewing and processing development applications, as well as providing assistance to the general public, applicants, and the select boards. This work will complement the recent and continuing planning services MCOG has been able to provide to these communities for comprehensive plan updates and TIF amendments.

Thank you for reading! Know someone who may be interested in receiving this newsletter? Pass along this form for them to fill out and they will be included in the next newsletter.


All the best,

The MCOG Team

Mathew Eddy, Brian Dancause, Meg Rasmussen, Max Johnstone, Michael Martone, and Charlotte Nutt

165 Main Street, Suite F

PO Box 62

Damariscotta, ME 04543

207-209-4129

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