Study to Support and Enhance Auburn’s Agricultural and Resource Sector

Rural Auburn has a unique Agricultural and Resource Protection (AGRP) zoning district, which has been in place since the early 1960’s that contains over 40% of the city’s land area, or over 20,000 acres. The purpose and intent of the AGRP zoning regulations has been to manage development and to promote food, agricultural, timber and natural resource production and uses. The AGRP zoning regulations have significantly restricted development for the last 50 plus years. Today however, the nature and trends of farming and food production have drastically changed. In response, Auburn desires to strengthen its natural resource-based economy (farming, timber, food businesses, etc) and better integrate this sector into community planning and City-wide priorities. In order to do so, the City requires a better understanding rural land owner needs and goals; the identification of opportunities for additional support and/or investment, and greater understanding of existing barriers and potential solutions and strategies.

Values Statement- The selected consultant is asked to use the following Values Statement as a foundation of its work; “The City of Auburn values its agricultural heritage, protects the natural beauty of its land, and promotes locally grown food, raising livestock, managing forests and natural resource-based businesses.”

Scope of Services

A. Staff Role- The staff will:

  • Oversee a selection process for the selection of consultants
  • Assist consultants in obtaining data from, city, county and state sources
  • Facilitate arrangements for and participate in public meetings
  • Oversee a city website dedicated to the Rural Land Capability Study
  • Provide project oversight

B. Consultant Role- A selected consultant or consultant group will:

  • Facilitate stakeholder and public meetings
  • Conduct rural property owner interviews and surveys
  • Submit a preliminary report on the public meetings, interviews and surveys
  • Assist in gathering input from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation, the Maine Farmland Trust, St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, and Cultivating Community on agricultural trends in the State of Maine
  • Conduct an assessment and report on Auburn’s existing Agricultural and Resource Protection district regulations, other local, state or regional rural regulations, the impacts of those regulations whether intended or not, and rural economic and social conditions
  • Explore the economic and community development possibilities of Auburn’s Rural Lands and its potential to complement downtown living and development
  • Prepare a preliminary report with alternatives for public consideration
  • Prepare a final report with recommendations and implementation plan to overcome obstacles to Auburn’s rural economy
  • Provide an implementation plan for the long term management of Auburn’s Rural Lands

Meeting Agenda:   November 16, 2017

Additional Links:   Sun Journal Article Regarding Food Sovereignty  /  AGRP RFP Final with Attachment  /  Crossroads Proposal 2017

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