GrowSmart Maine Testifies in Opposition to Regulatory Takings Bills

Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine
in opposition to LD 1039,
“An Act To Promote Regulatory Fairness”
May 7, 2013

Senator Valentino, Representative Priest and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary. My name is Nancy Smith and I live in Monmouth. I am the Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine, a statewide non-profit membership-based organization working to grow Maine's economy, protect its distinctive character, and enhance our state's quality places. I regret that previously scheduled commitments prevent me or other GrowSmart Maine representatives from presenting this testimony at today’s Public Hearing.

As a part of our commitment to strengthening Maine’s economy, GrowSmart Maine is particularly enthusiastic about well grounded, thoughtful and creative proposals which seek to grow the economy in a sustainable manner while at the same time preserving our state’s unique character and quality of place. Fair and consistent regulations are a key component of this effort, but this bill does not achieve this goal. We believe this bill will work in direct conflict with those objectives. I say this, acknowledging the real concerns of landowners. But this is not the solution.

LD 1039 overreaches in an attempt to fix all complaints tied to regulation of property in a single misguided, unfunded process. In my eight years of service in the Legislature, I know that a key component of reviewing each piece of legislation is to consider the intent of the bill as well as its potential unintended consequences. You look in the direction the bill is pointed, and then broaden your view to look for other implications. Hearing from the “winners and losers” if you will, is part of the legislative process for each bill. This is why we have public hearings and work sessions, and why the bill is never really done until it is signed into law.

LD 1039 seems to ignore this process and suggests compensation without providing a funding source and then offers the possibility of case by case waivers allowing some property owners to ignore some laws. Think of the neighbor-to-neighbor conflicts and lawsuits this will create. LD 1039 is unworkable.

Please consider too that establishing this compensation-or-waiver process would allow the Executive Branch to waive requirements that the Legislature has enacted. It is appropriate for legislators to look at each bill separately, as you are doing today with LD 1039, rather than to delegate your role to the Executive or Judicial branches of government.

I ask you to reject this legislation and thank you for the opportunity to provide these remarks.

 

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Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine
in opposition to LD 1450,
“An Act To Connect the Citizens of the State to the State's Natural
Resources by Establishing Standards for Relief from Regulatory
Burdens”
May 7, 2013

Senator Valentino, Representative Priest and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary. My name is Nancy Smith and I live in Monmouth. I am the Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine, a statewide non-profit membership-based organization working to grow Maine's economy, protect its distinctive character, and enhance Maine’s quality places. I regret that previously scheduled commitments prevent me or other GrowSmart Maine representatives from presenting this testimony at today’s Public Hearing.

As a part of our commitment to strengthening Maine’s economy, GrowSmart Maine is particularly enthusiastic about well grounded, thoughtful and creative proposals which seek to grow the economy in a sustainable manner while at the same time preserving our state’s unique character and quality of place. Fair and consistent regulations are a key component of this effort, but this bill does not achieve this goal. We believe this bill will work in direct conflict with those objectives. I say this, acknowledging the real concerns of landowners. But this is not the solution.

LD 1450 is very much like a minority report that came out of this committee in the last legislative session. Although this version exempts municipal regulation, it is unclear how this legislation will impact regional planning efforts. Mobilize Maine, for instance, works to create cohesive plans for asset-based regional economic development, in collaboration with local and regional groups including the economic development districts. In addition, there are a variety of regional cooperative agencies focused on delivery of services tied to housing, transportation, solid waste, and watershed management. In all these cases, the regulatory authority resides at the municipal level, but we don’t know how this bill will impact municipal regulations that originate from broad-based regional collaborative efforts.

LD 1450 is an inappropriate solution to landowner concerns in that it attempts to address all complaints tied to all future legislation in a single misguided, unfunded process. In my eight years of service in the Legislature, I know that a key component of reviewing each piece of legislation is to consider the intent of the bill as well as its potential unintended consequences. You look in the direction the bill is pointed, and then broaden your view to look for other implications. Hearing from the “winners and losers” if you will, is part of the legislative process for each bill. This is why we have public hearings and work sessions, and why the bill is never really done until it is signed into law.

LD 1450 seems to ignore this process.

Rather than endorse this proposal, I would encourage you instead to focus efforts on improving the existing mediation process designed specifically to resolve these conflicts. Thank you for the opportunity to provide these remarks.

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