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Frequently Asked Questions

Project Area

- Why did the Town select the current project area for the Thorofare Waterfront Project, rather than extending down to areas like Ferry Beach Landing on the western side, or to the Sewage Treatment Plant and Bortz Ship House to the east? Can these areas still be addressed during this process, and through the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grant?

Please see the Project Area page for more information and an image of the delineated area for the Thorofare Waterfront Project.

The Thorofare Waterfront project area that was identified in the Town’s application to FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Grant extends to the end of the Brown’s property on the eastern side, and to end of the Casino’s property on the west. The area outlined in red is most vulnerable to sea level rise and flooding and includes vital social, economic, and transportation hubs – including the ferry terminal and parking lot, locations for our working waterfront and recreational boating, fuel storage and sales, Brown’s Boatyard and Boat Rentals, Waterman’s Community Center and Pre-K classrooms, Hopkins Wharf Gallery, and the Casino Yacht Club. By improving and adapting our Thorofare Waterfront to increasing climate pressures, we aim to preserve this area as a thriving community gathering space and fundamental economic and transportation center on the island.

NOTE: The BRIC scoping grant would allow us to identify key challenges and potential solutions within this delineated area, but additional, diverse funding sources can be considered for other project ideas or considerations that are located outside of this area (such as Ferry Landing Beach or the Sewage Treatment Plant).

We decided on this area for several reasons.

On the west side, we stopped at the Casino area because the undeveloped land between there and Ferry Landing Beach poses an access challenge and did not fall into the category of being necessary to hazard mitigation for sea level rise, storm surge, and coastal flooding. Also, the BRIC Grant is intended for commercial or recreational structures, rather than undeveloped areas. This does not mean the Town cannot create a better boat ramp at Ferry Landing Beach; it just means the BRIC grant would not be the source of funds.  There are funds available at the State level for boat ramp improvements.

 On the east side, the Town was strongly advised by Maine Emergency Management Agency not to include properties that are on the National Historic Register in the grant application, because the bureaucratic hurdles are significant and would jeopardize the feasibility of the project altogether.  The Bortz Ship House is listed on this registry.  Moreover, the Ship House is also not currently used for any commercial or recreational purposes, which makes it a less eligible structure for BRIC Grant funding.

 As to our Sewage Treatment Plant, we are working with Olver Associates to determine how best to extend the plant’s working life.  We are currently adjusting chemical inputs, monitoring the results carefully, and coordinating with both Olver and Maine Department of Environmental Protection on the output.  If this alone is successful, we should be able to avoid any capital improvements to the plant for several years.  If this does not work, we will have to look at other options that are likely to require significant funds. 

 In December 2022, when the Town applied for the BRIC Grant, the Select Board and Town Administrator determined that rolling the Sewage Treatment Plant into the FEMA grant would have shifted the focus to another significant project that is largely unrelated to sea level rise and climate change and that is highly complex and costly.  Again, there are grant funds that could be used for capital improvements to our plant if that becomes necessary.  The Town Administrator also alerted Representative Chellie Pingree to the possibility of asking for earmark funds for both the Thorofare Waterfront Project and, possibly, the Sewage Treatment Plant.  Please see the attached letter in our TWP Document Center.

 

Funding and Public Access

- What portion of taxpayer money will be funding this project? What is the match required for the BRIC Grant?

For the $200,000 FEMA BRIC scoping grant, the Town is committed to providing 25% non-federal match ($50,000), which can include cash, donated or third-party in-kind services (such as Town employees’ labor costs towards the project). The Town anticipates final notice of our BRIC application status in early 2024.

Though there is not currently additional funding secured, GEI Consultants also has extensive experience supporting communities through grant applications at the private, state, or local levels that can also be put towards municipal matching costs. With in-kind contributions built into our grant application, the cost incurred by the Town will be below $50,000, though an exact number has not yet been finalized.

To kick-off the hiring process of an engineering firm, the Town secured a $10,000 Island Institute ShoreUp grant, and matched this with $15,000 available in the Community Vision Fund.

- Why should any public money be used for a project that primarily involves private property owners? How will this project be of any benefit to North Haven residents and waterfront users more generally?

This project is uniquely complex because many of the properties along our Thorofare Waterfront in question are privately owned and operated – whether they be residential or commercial. However, this area is undeniably the most vital hub that sustains every aspect of our community’s economy and acts as a social and cultural space for people to gather and access essential services. As an island community, we are uniquely situated and dependent on our Waterfront transportation, environment, access; if the Thorofare Waterfront of North Haven fails or falters in the decades to come, so too does our community. In this moment, we have the opportunity to access funding resources at the federal and state levels to proactively prepare for rising seas, storm surge, and flooding and adapt our Waterfront in ways that shore up North Haven’s resilience for our current and future generations.

Secondly, it’s important to note that many of the private properties along the Thorofare Waterfront fulfill important social and economic functions in our community, including fuel storage and sales, boating services, working waterfront, Pre-K education and childcare, cultural and community programming, food sales, and artistic contributions. Without many of the businesses and spaces along our iconic, historic Thorofare Waterfront, our community would have large gaps in its day-to-day functioning and sense of place that we all deeply value.

Moreover, the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grant also requires grant recipients to consider ways to benefit public access and interests within their projects and along the affected properties. The Town will be facilitating continued conversations with affected property owners, a diverse range of community stakeholders, and the public, to gather input and ideas for ways to address issues and interests within this planning process and improve the Thorofare Waterfront for numerous commercial, residential, environmental, and public uses.

Lastly, we will be exploring a range of funding opportunities through public and private grants to minimize the cost incurred by Town taxpayers. Once we have a design in hand, we will apply for BRIC construction funds, as well as other possible grants, such as Northern Borders, Boating Infrastructure Grants (BIG), and Maine Small Harbor Improvement Program (SHIP) grants.

- Will the engineering firm contracted during this project (GEI Consultants) be capable of offering cost and budgeting support?

Yes. In the Town’s Request for Proposals (RFP) and competitive review process, grant and budgeting management were both key evaluation criteria. GEI Consultants has extensive experience in supporting clients with grant writing and management, in addition to creating accurate budgetary expectations and delivering services and projects on budget. To learn more about GEI, please view their website and their application response to the RFP on our TWP Document Center.

Process, Participation, and Outcomes

- Is there a design already in mind for an end goal to this, or alternatives that are being considered to help improve the waterfront's resilience and accessibility?

No, there is no pre-established plan or design that currently exists. The Town plans to coordinate and help facilitate a highly participatory, transparent process that incorporates as much meaningful feedback and input as possible to inform GEI Consultants assessment and design suggestions for effective adaptation measures along the Thorofare Waterfront. As we navigate Phase 2: Project Scoping during Winter through Summer 2024, we will be combining engineering analysis, technical support, and community input to create a comprehensive solution that is cost-effective, feasible, adaptable, and addresses the anticipated impacts of climate change and sea level rise. Please check back for updates or be in touch if you would like to be more involved.

- How can I get involved in this process as a stakeholder, or as a member of the public? Where can I receive updates and more information?

Several different ways! Please view our list of Stakeholders here. Ideally, we will have 2 representatives per category. If you identify within one (or more) of the categories on the list and would like to volunteer to participate during general TWP stakeholder and smaller focus group meetings, please email the Town Administrator (administrator@northhavenmaine.org) and Island Institute Fellow (COxford@islandinstitute.org). Meetings will be about 1 to 2 hours long and occur once per month, or once every other month, depending on updates and discussion. As a stakeholder, you would also be responsible for sharing TWP updates with the broader group you represent, gathering feedback and questions from others, and communicating any key points, concerns, or ideas from the group you represent during the following stakeholder meeting.

If you prefer to follow along and contribute as a general community member, please join the Town’s email list for routine updates, check back on the Town Website’s Thorofare Waterfront hub, and follow the Town of North Haven on Facebook for announcements about community survey, outreach, and meeting opportunities. As always, feel free to reach out to the Town Office with additional comments or questions, or to attend biweekly Select Board meetings in-person or via Zoom.

 

- What does it mean to be using consensus as a guiding principle of this project? Will the Town's voters be able to vote on formal parts of this project at different stages? How will consensus be determined, and public opinion measured throughout this project?
The Town will hold formal votes on any decision that requires a vote by State law.  However, we will strive for consensus in our deliberations to ensure that any major decision has broad support across our entire community.  The Select Board will make sure this happens by frequent and transparent communications and by making sure that all relevant materials throughout this process are made available to the community.

We hope to facilitate a collaborative, consensus-driven process, and appreciate
the ongoing contributions and commitment of our community about this project – please contact Rick Lattimer (administrator@northhavenmaine.org) and Claire Oxford (COxford@islandinstitute.org) if you have additional questions or would like to be further involved.

Calendar and Events

- Where will be able to see upcoming events and a complete calendar?

The Town and Select Board have developed an upcoming calendar of events and meetings for Winter and Spring 2024.  You can view these upcoming events and project dates on the Calendar and Events page. NOTE: These event dates are subject to change depending on project status and participant availability. We will update the Calendar and Events page accordingly when changes are needed. 

Please email Rick Lattimer (
administrator@northhavenmaine.org) and Claire Oxford (COxford@islandinstitute.org) if you would like to be added to the Town’s Community Updates emailing list for more frequent announcements and updates.