12. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
1. Soils. The soils of Westport belong to the Lyman-Tunbridge-rock outcrop association and have severe limitations for septic tank absorption fields because of shallow depth to bedrock.
2. Groundwater. The source of fresh water for Westport is derived exclusively from the island’s rainfall. The island’s future development is constrained by the limited recharge capability of the island’s soils, the potential of nitrate-nitrogen contamination from residual wastewater, and salt water intrusion in some parts of the island. There is a need to protect the quantity and quality of the island’s groundwater. It is not feasible or practical to develop a public water supply system, or to extend water lines from Wiscasset.
3. Wildlife/Marine Resources. There is a diverse array of wildlife resources on Westport and in the immediate marine environment.
1. Growth. Most of the Town’s population growth has occurred during the past 30 years. It is likely that Westport’s population will continue to grow at about the same rate as Lincoln County.
2. Composition. There has been a steady decline in the percentage of children under 5 years of age.
3. Income and Education. Westport has higher per capita and median household incomes, and higher levels of educational attainment, than Lincoln County or the State.
1. Employment. There are very few employment opportunities on the island. Westport relies upon nearby service centers for job opportunities. Over 90% of the work force is employed off-island.
2. Agriculture/Forestry. There is no longer any significant commercial agriculture or forestry activity on the island.
3. Bedroom Community. Westport fits the classic definition of a bedroom community. There is virtually no tax revenue derived from business activity. Westport offers virtually no significant attractions for tourists. The island’s location off the beaten track, its small population and the high cost of land, combine to make significant commercial development highly unlikely. Westport residents have easy access to commercial businesses in nearby service centers.
1. Residential Development. There have been few subdivisions of any significance since 1970, but there has been a substantial increase in the number of lots, many of which have not been reviewed as part of a subdivision.
2. Vacant Parcels. There are 260 vacant parcels of land, many of which could be developed as home sites in the coming years.
3. Seasonal Residents. In the year 2000, about 34% of all housing on the island was seasonal (about 174 homes).
4. Commercial and Industrial Use. There are about 62 small businesses that are active on Westport. Most of these are home-based businesses. Since 1974, there has been little change in the commercial use of land or the business use of buildings.
5. Maine Yankee. Maine Yankee is no longer functioning as a nuclear power plant, but there are serious concerns about the storage of spent fuel (over 900 tons), the security of the plant, and the need for an evacuation plan in the event of an accidental release of radioactivity from spent fuel.
6. Regional Development. There is the potential that Westport will be impacted by development in the nearby region. While the possibility of a bypass through Westport appears to have diminished, Westport could be impacted by rail passenger service between Brunswick and Rockland, redevelopment of the Maine Yankee site, and development/ change on Route 144 between the bridge and Route 1.
7. Growth/Rural Area. There is no compelling justification for the establishment of a growth area in Westport. There is no town center around which new residential growth could be concentrated. There are no town facilities that could service such facilities. Given Westport's limited tax base (virtually all residential), the Town is ill-equipped financially to provide growth-related services. The Town’s 2001 Aquifer Delineation and Soil Carrying Capacity study documents the limitation of the island’s soils and ground water to support intense development. Finally, Westport is located close to a service center that can provide growth-related services. For these reasons, it makes sense to designate the entire community as a rural area.
8. Land Use Management. There is a need to develop and/or refine an effective land use management system to ensure that future growth is in keeping with the rural character of the community and that it minimizes adverse impacts on the Town’s natural resources. The need includes an update of the Town’s subdivision regulations, the development of a site plan review ordinance, and standards to ensure that lot-by-lot development that is not part of a subdivision does not adversely impact ground water supplies.
1. Housing Stock. Given past trends, Westport can anticipate an increase of 107-142 housing units over the next 10 years. This growth does not translate directly to population increases because many of the new housing units will be seasonal dwellings.
2. Affordable Housing. The current housing stock appears to meet or exceed the need for low cost housing for low and very low income people. Year-round rental rates for mobile homes are now between $400 per month (two bedroom) and $500 per month (three bedroom). There are about 45 mobile homes on the island. Mobile homes are allowed throughout the community.
1. Paving. There is a need to begin a pavement program to keep existing tarred roads from falling apart. The Town will not be able to pay for improvements and implement a paving program using only excise tax money and State highway subsidy money.
2. Route 144. There is a need to ensure that development along Route 144 is in keeping with the rural character of the community.
1. Regional Linkages. Westport benefits from and supports the role of Wiscasset as a service center for many of its public services and facilities including library services, solid waste disposal, schools and recreation. The Town also supports a number of regional public health and social services agencies which, in turn, provide assistance to Westport residents.
2. School System. There are continuing concerns related to whether Westport should continue to rely on the Wiscasset school system or consider other alternatives.
1. Capital Investment Plan. The Town has a number of reserve funds which it uses to address long-range capital needs. However, there is a need to refine the summary of capital needs included in this plan.