As reflected in the 2006 Brookings Institute Report, “Charting Maine’s Future”, which was commissioned and paid for by GrowSmart Maine, Maine’s unique and enduring quality of place is a valuable asset in itself, as well as a powerful economic development resource. In fact, we believe that the current restrictions on advertising within public ways are extremely effective in protecting our state’s quality of place while allowing advertising and promotional efforts that are more than adequate to publicize various businesses and destinations.
As a part of our commitment to strengthening Maine’s economy, GrowSmart Maine is particularly enthusiastic about well grounded, thoughtful and creative proposals which grow the economy in a sustainable manner while at the same time protecting our state’s unique character. The viability of the natural resource sector is key to both Maine’s economy and our quality of place. GrowSmart Maine strongly supports efforts to alleviate tensions between Maine’s landowners and responsible outdoor recreationists.
As a part of the Maine Downtown Coalition, GrowSmart Maine played a prominent role in working with the Legislature in 2009 to develop the Communities for Maine's Future program. The Communities for Maine’s Future is a $3.5 million bond initiative approved by Maine voters on June 8, 2010 to provide matching grants for downtown revitalization…
I understand from conversations with the sponsor that this bill is being presented with the understanding that the State Planning Office is at risk. Given that the elimination of this office is in the Governor’s budget, there is value in seeking appropriate locations for programs currently overseen by this office. We are speaking neither for nor against this legislation because we acknowledge the challenge being addressed, but we believe there is a better way.
On Wednesday, March 30th, the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources held a Public Hearing on LD 159, “An Act to Foster Economic Development of the Laws Governing Site Location of Development and Storm Water Management”, sponsored by Senator Thomas Saviello. In a well attended and sometimes heated hearing, Senator Saviello offered testimony which supported the basic elements of his bill.
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. It is clear that the proposals featured in LD 533 fit these challenging criteria and are thus deserving of enthusiastic support from GrowSmart Maine.
I hope the committee and the assembled stakeholders will be able to define a single objective with which to frame the discussion of LD 159, and that an appropriate solution is found that will allow developers to focus on meeting market demand while allowing DEP to achieve its mission. At GSM, we focus our work at the intersection of economic development and conservation. It is not as simple as choosing between the two, or striking a balance where each is harmed equally; our work is to identify and facilitate opportunities for sustainable economic growth in ways that do not harm, and can actually build upon, our unique and invaluable quality places. An appropriate amendment to LD 159 would do just that.
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. We believe this bill fits that description. The viability of the natural resource sector is a priority for GrowSmart Maine. Our working farms, forests, and waterfront contribute to our economy and to Maine’s unique sense of place. This legislation, in removing an unreasonable risk associated with land ownership, addresses a significant challenge to profitably running a natural-resource sector business come with land ownership.
GrowSmart Maine has received a $25,000 grant from The Old Bug Light Charitable Fund to update their web site and communications software and to expand its ReEnvisioning the Highway Strip project to include a demonstration site.
GSM supports this legislation because, if improvements can be made in this area of regulation, we will be making great strides in value-added processing for Maine farmers. This is key to the viability of our farms across the state. Demand for local meats and poultry is strong and growing, and this line of products can be profitable for farmers.