Homes for People Who Work in York

by Kristen Grant

Design workshops that bring community stakeholders together with housing professionals are an annual event now in Maine. In October Maine Sea Grant partnered with the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast to host a workforce housing “charrette” (intensive design workshop) at a site off Route 1 near the Kittery border in York, Maine. The 2014 workshop follows in the successful path of earlier charrettes in Kittery, and Wells. The goal of these charrettes is to initiate community conversations about the need for homes for people who work in town and not to generate a formal development proposal. As a result of the charrette process, no one is mandated to take action, but instead the community can use the designs to help envision possibilities for the future.

The 2014 workshop garnered tremendous support from sponsors including Maine Community Foundation, Kennebunk Saving Bank, The Town of York, and York Housing. A team of 26 housing professionals including architects, planners, engineers, real estate agents, and developers volunteered their time to join four property owners and host of community members including neighbors of the sites and interested citizens. Through what has become known as a miracle of teamwork, these participants created two distinct design schemes for the site.

In 2015, the Town of Berwick, Maine is considering joining us for the next charrette.