Rockland city councilors voiced support for a regional plan to coordinate land-use and transportation planning along Routes 1 and 90 despite claims by some local residents that the proposal is part of a global conspiracy to strip away private property rights.

The City Council will formally vote Monday night, Dec. 13 on an inter-local agreement with the Gateway 1 communities but at their Dec. 6 agenda-setting meetings, councilors said they supported the agreement.

“It’s not new, different or strange,” Councilor Eric Hebert said of the Gateway 1 proposal. He noted the city has been involved in this project since it began in 2004.

Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson said not too far in the future, the amount of traffic along Route 1 will increase to the point that the road system will be unable to handle the congestion. The Gateway 1 plan addresses the needs to plan for dealing with that problem.

Mayor Brian Harden also voiced his support for the measure.

At the start of the meeting, Rockland resident Horatio “Ted” Cowan III urged the council to reject the proposed package.

Cowan said he would give the benefit of the doubt to the local people who serve on the Gateway 1 committee but said that the goals of this are the same as that of the United Nations Agenda 21 project.

He later said that the participants of Gateway 1 are either concealing its involvement in this global effort or are unaware.

At a Nov. 10 meeting of the Gateway 1 committee, Cowan said, “Beneath a facade of laudable objectives and supposedly sustainable development, good-sounding titles, you are — frankly — in the process of implementing one of the radical, unpopular, socialist, central planning directives intended to shift the population from rural areas into high-density areas.”

Cowan also attended the final part of the Constitutionalists of Maine meeting in Waldoboro on the evening of Dec. 6.

Cowan reported on the Rockland City Council meeting and said, “There were known communists in that room.”

He said those people support Gateway 1. He said Gateway 1 supporters are only looking at the mechanism of the plan, not the actual contents. He offered to sit down with Gateway 1 supporters to review the plan line by line.

Sixteen of 20 communities along Route 1 from Brunswick to Stockton Springs are expected to consider the Gateway 1 inter-local agreement through June. Voters in the towns will decide on whether to approve the agreement while in the cities such as Rockland, the council will vote on the inter-local agreement.

Deborah Sealey voiced support for the Gateway plan, noting that Warren was a prime example of what happens when there is not adequate zoning.

The proposed corridor action plan developed by Gateway 1 seeks to have communities amend their comprehensive plans and zoning laws to conform to the regional recommendations. Those include:

• Limit the driveways on Routes 1 and 90
• Allow for increased residential and commercial densities in designated core growth areas
• Designate visual distinctive and noteworthy segments of the corridor as rural areas
• Adopt a rural conservation plan
• Enact building permit caps in rural parts of communities
The plan calls for a Gateway Corridor Coalition to formally share certain land use and transportation planning authorities among corridor communities, the Maine Department of Transportation, and the Maine State Planning Office once 12 communities have approved the inter-local agreements.
The draft inter-local agreement requires that the Corridor Coalition be notified when a project is presented to the planning board of member communities if it will impact Route 1 or Route 90. The decision on those projects, however, will remain with the boards of the communities. A municipality can withdraw from the Corridor Coalition with one year’s notice.
The Dec. 13 meeting of the council begins at 7 p.m. at city hall.
filed under: