York, Maine — The town’s planning department has no shortage of projects to work on this year, and help has arrived to alleviate some of the burden.
DeCarlo Brown began his new role last month as a Land Use Planner, a role in which he works alongside Planning Director Dylan Smith to facilitate the application and review process for development projects in town and ensure compliance with town code.
“We need about 15 DeCarlos,” Smith said.
As the town gears up for voters to weigh in on a new comprehensive plan this November – a process in which Smith is heavily involved – Brown couldn’t have arrived at a better time, Smith said.
“When you’re an individual just working on everything, it’s not sustainable. You’re not in any one thing. Parts of you are just scattered about,” Smith said. “You’re just jumping from this application to that plan to that ordinance … you’re spread so thin, you’re just like butter on bread.”
Now, with Brown around, Smith isn’t spread quite as thin.
Brown, who previously worked in planning in Maryland, said he looks forward to familiarizing himself with the town’s regulations and its people.
“In larger organizations, I would be one of a team that’s just doing current development review. Here there’s more capability to talk with people and have a full view of a particular topic or project that is underway and to really tackle it holistically,” Brown said.
“I really do like that hands-on approach that we get to have here,” he added.
This year’s hands-on workflow is sure to be hands-full as well. In addition to the comprehensive plan update, the planning department is involved in a number of other major projects.
Those include private mixed-use developments like Bristol Pointe Condominiums, which marketing materials describe as “modern luxury with York Village charm,” at 298 York Street.
The projects also include two major housing developments designed for affordability. One is being built by York Housing at 296 U.S. Route 1, with leasing expected to begin this summer. Another is in the works just west of the York Police Department headquarters, at 7 Hannaford Drive, with developers likely to apply for building permits within the next couple of months, Smith said.
Additionally, the planning team is involved in continuing to gauge public opinion and capture ideas about the future of the Green Enterprise Overlay District in York Beach.
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Smith said he submitted a special request of $125,000 for an interactive design process to set the policy and regulatory framework for the district’s future development and to conduct workshops that will help determine how the town should proceed in developing the Short Sands Road area.
More information about the York Planning Department is available on the town’s website: www.yorkmaine.org/162/Planning.