Lincoln County
Regional Planning Commission
 

Providing Planning & Economic Development Services

   

Lincoln County is the only county in Maine that provides planning services for its municipalities, and is one of only a few counties that supports economic development.

 

Last year, with the County's leadership, planning and economic development services were combined in a new organization, the Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission, created under State laws. The LCRPC provides services to all municipalities in the County along with Monhegan and Hibberts Gore. A board of directors representing the County and towns that have formally voted to join meets every other month. (The LCRPC website can be viewed at www.lcrpc.org).

 

Through the RPC, the County funds the services of Bob Faunce to provide land use and development planning for our 18 mainland municipalities as well as for the County  (Monhegan Island is served by the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission).  This includes assistance to planning boards in reviewing subdivisions and commercial projects, revisions to development ordinances, assistance with grant applications and comprehensive plan updates and planning for special projects.  Bob is spearheading a regional effort to upgrade local development ordinances, and works with communities on Corridor Management Studies and Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans. As a representative of the County Commissioners, Bob is a member of the Midcoast Bypass Task Force and served as staff for the Maine Department of Transportation's Gateway 1 Project. You can reach him at 784-2617 or rfaunce@megalink.net.

 

For Economic and Community Development, the LCRPC serves as a single point of contact for development initiatives within county boundaries. The ECD office provides technical assistance to towns, businesses, and civic organizations to secure private, state as well as federal funding to promote entrepreneurship and small business development. Our goal is to expand meaningful employment opportunities by bringing jobs that pay a livable wage to the region. 

 

Creating a favorable climate for business is essential. To support development and expansion of existing businesses and to attract new businesses, over the past several years this office has facilitated the inclusion of several towns and eligible businesses in the Maine Pine Tree Zone program (a state program that qualifies eligible businesses in targeted sectors for tax incentives to support expansion).

 

From fishing and aquaculture to boat building and manufacturing, economic pursuits in Lincoln County combine tradition and innovation. With support from the County and the expertise and assistance of the office and its many collaborators, companies like Masters Machine in Bristol, Hodgdon Yachts in Boothbay, and Waldoboro Environmental Business Park demonstrate effective R&D followed by successful commercialization of advanced composite and manufacturing technology, links to global markets, and commitment to environmental standards and best practices.

 

The ECD office also provides grant research, grant-writing, and administrative assistance to communities, businesses and non-profits seeking support from a variety of public and private funding sources, including USDA Rural Development, HUD Community Development Block Grants, ConnectME (broadband service), Maine Technology Institute, and others.

 

Under contract with the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, the RPC provides ongoing technical assistance for the state's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). These grants - public infrastructure, facilities, and services, housing repair, downtown revitalization and more - focus on benefitting low to moderate income residents by improving water quality, housing stock, and job opportunities.

 

In Lincoln County, you can see real benefits of CDBG funds in the areas of business assistance, water and sewer, historic preservation, and affordable housing - water projects in Boothbay Harbor and Damariscotta; a technology park alongside hiking trails near the former Maine Yankee site; Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, northern New England's only botanical garden; renovation of important and historic community buildings, and improving their accessibility for handicapped residents; and the conversion of a travel agency to a residential community health facility for students aging out of the school system.

 

The County's scenic farmlands north of Route 1 and our peninsular fishing communities make up an important part of the regional economy, as active farms and working waterfronts, attractive landscapes, and tourist destinations. To protect these rich natural and cultural resources, an integral part of the LCRPC's mission is to help promote heritage-based development in an environmentally and culturally sensitive manner. To support local farms and promote sustainable agriculture, the office - former director Amy Winston -- co-founded Focus on Agriculture in Rural Maine Schools (FARMS) to connect farms with classrooms and cafeterias in local elementary and secondary schools. FARMS represents a joint venture with educators, school administrators, farmers, and health care practitioners to achieve a healthy, prosperous, and sustainable community. The LCRPC supports the activities of a new community-based organization, the Real Food Institute of Mid-coast Maine, which grew out of LC's agricultural work and from the Town of Waldoboro's Economic Development Committee. RFI's mission is to build and sustain a local food economy through farm-to-fork and ocean-to-plate product development and distribution, and education.  

 

Another cultural heritage project was the 2010 celebration of Lincoln County's 250th Anniversary.  Preserving, honoring, and building awareness about the County's cultural resources continues today with efforts to coordinate and expand marketing and promotion of the County's incomparable arts and cultural organizations and events.

 

Another important strategy is strong regional partnerships, especially those that foster responsible development along the coast. For example, a partnership with the Town of Brunswick and Sagadahoc County led to the establishment of the Midcoast Economic Development District (MCEDD) in 2003, and soon will expand to include Knox County and some Waldo County towns. Through this regional group, municipalities can apply for funds from the Economic Development Administration for certain types of job creation projects. Each year, MCEDD prepares a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) with development goals that support both traditional resource-based industries (such as boatbuilding, tourism and the arts), and emerging sectors such as health care, affordable housing, composites and energy.

 

To learn more about Economic and Community Development services available through Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission, please contact Mary Ellen Barnes at 882-7564 or email mbarnes@lcrpc.org.

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Last updated: 29-May-2012

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