TOWN OF TURNER COMPREHENSIVE PLAN | 2022 QUICK REFERENCE
What is a Comprehensive Plan and why should I care about it?
A comprehensive plan identifies community needs and wants, sets goals and identifies ways to achieve them.
Helps keep taxes lower by directing growth to where services can be provided efficiently and limits growth elsewhere.
A plan provides the basis for zoning and separates incompatible uses from our homes.
A State approved Plan is required to apply for State and in some cases Federal Funding.
Provides a predictable roadmap for residents and businesses to make long term investments.
Identifies things that the community wants to avoid and suggests ways to avoid them.
Who came up with all this stuff?
The current Comprehensive Plan Committee, made up of eleven residents volunteering their time, was created by the Selectboard. The Committee started their work in 2018 on what was expected to be a simple update of the 2006 plan. The work began with a community survey and six focused public meetings to gather input and an update of the inventory sections of the plan to better understand some of the changes that have taken place in the community. Hundreds of residents participated along the way and their input guided the drafting of this plan. See the Public Process Section of the Plan for more details.
What will the plan do for us?
This update to the Comprehensive Plan should serve as a new guide for the community and for town officials as they make decisions about the future of Turner. The Plan suggests general directions, recognizing that specific details will require further efforts and response to new challenges and opportunities as time goes on. The Plan should be considered a living document, meaning that it will require review and revisions over time. It gives the town expanded access to State and in some cases Federal Funding.
What is in this plan?
A vision for Turner that includes consideration for Character and Special Places, Future Growth, Outdoor Recreation, Village Areas and Appearance of Development. To achieve the desired vision statements efforts are broken down to include Historic and
Archaeological Resources, Economic Development, Production Agriculture, Public Services/Facilities, Outdoor Recreation, Transportation/Roadway System, Affordable Housing, Natural Resources, Rare/ Endangered and Significant Natural Features, Scenic
Resources and Land Use/Development Patterns. The full Plan is available by clicking here.
What are some of the highlights of the updated plan?
Character and Special Places - Turner is a town of diversity. It has farm families that go back many generations, and young families who just moved here. There is a feeling of home and community in Turner. The rural character of Turner is felt in its farms, its open space, its woodlands and fields, scenic views, and village center. This plan aims to preserve this special place.
Future Growth - Turner will continue to attract development in the future because of its vibrant school system, expansive scenery, low taxes, and community feeling. Commercial development will be concentrated along the Route 4 corridor. Elderly and multi-family housing will fit best in Turner Center and Turner Village. Single family homes will continue to be located throughout the community. Turner’s agricultural base has been a significant factor in stabilizing the tax base and promoting farming must continue to be a priority.
Outdoor Recreation - The Town hosts national events in disc golf, fishing tournaments and 24-hour endurance racing at the Riverlands Park. Interest in outdoor activities in Turner has grown. Based upon citizen input, this Committee has proposed to open some shoreland areas near our current Commercial Districts to allow some commercial activities. The changes will continue to meet or exceed the minimum State shoreland standards and protect the resources but increase accessibility to it as well. This could include, a marina and campground on the Androscoggin, as well as riverfront dining and rental activities for mountain bikes, snowmobiles and ATVs at or near the State Park. We have also identified areas where we believe resource-based outdoor recreational and commercial uses should be encouraged along the shorelines of Martin Stream and the Nezinscot River. These activities can provide recreational and economic opportunity for local people. Based upon citizen input, we have specifically not identified any shoreland areas at our lakes or ponds that would be suitable for these expanded uses.
Village Areas – Should continue to be the place where investment in additional housing units for existing owners and new residents is encouraged. Turner Village, Turner Center, South Turner, North Turner, Chase’s Mills Village are all discussed in the plan. Directing growth to the village centers is the best way to ensure the rural areas of Turner will continue to have land for farm activities and to preserve the rural character valued by the community.
Did this already get voted on once?
Hosting a significant public process and distilling many thoughts, desires and opinions into a document that meets the standards and addresses each planning topic is a significant undertaking and State approval was a major milestone in the volunteer led process. Following the State approval, the Committee contemplated a special Town Meeting or waiting for the April 2022 Regular Town Meeting in hopes of a larger turnout from voters. Two years of meetings and work had been completed and the decision hold
a Special Town meeting was made to avoid the delay for almost an entire year. Attendance at the special meeting was low and only 35 residents were available to vote on the adoption of the Plan; the vote failed 18-17. The committee regrouped and reviewed
the recommendations and the feedback from the voters at an additional public meeting in December. The volunteer Committee determined that the public process and text of the plan are sound and represent our best efforts to provide recommendations on how to deal with challenges and opportunities facing Turner in the coming decade.
A message From the Committee
We volunteered our time to this effort because we felt it was important to help preserve the Turner that kept us here or enticed us to move here, while still allowing for our families to grow here. We did our best to wrestle with challenging topics and conflicting opinions from a diverse group of resident interests and to research and provide thoughtful recommendations. We didn’t always agree but we compromised and came to a consensus on each topic after much public input and debate. We are asking the community to read and understand the recommendations of the plan, ask questions, consider scenarios that the plan addresses and think about how the recommendations affect you.
Thank you for reading this; please come out and vote on April 9, 2022.
Comprehensive Plan Committee
Mike Gotto, Chairman
Mary Briggs, Vice Chairman
Megan Ricker, Recording Secretary