March 8, 2011
309 Cumberland Avenue
Portland, ME 04101
CONTACT: Kimberly Ballard
Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine
in opposition to LD 135,
“An Act to Allow the Placement of Certain Road Signs that Advertise a Small Business”
March 8, 2011
Senator Collins, Representative Cebra and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation. My name is Nancy Smith and I am the Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine. As many of you know from our previous interactions with the committee, GrowSmart Maine is 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.
Although we appreciate the intent of the sponsor, we believe LD 135 would not significantly help business owners, while it has the potential to adversely impact Maine's distinctive character, in both our downtowns and rural areas. This bill is focused on businesses of ten or fewer employees. As we all know, this constitutes the vast majority of all businesses here; Maine is a small business state.
LD 135 would allow the owner of a small business to post one sign on private property within one mile of their business. Our primary concern is that this is unnecessary, as the Department of Transportation provides for off-site signage through the Official Business Directional Signs (OBDS). This process allows for any number of signs to be posted in the public rights-of-way by DOT. I use such signs for our farm and for a farmers' market, and found them to be affordable and effective. Our farm sign states the business name and our products: “Snafu Acres Meats and Poultry”, and the market signs stated the market days and hours. This is sufficient information for a roadside sign.
Our second concern is that this bill creates an unfair regulatory environment because it is based on a business owner relying on the willingness of another private landowner to accommodate a sign. Availability of such opportunities will not be consistent among business owners, and therefore this could provide an unfair advantage to one competitor over others.
Thank you for the opportunity to offer these remarks. Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding GrowSmart Maine’s concerns with LD 135.
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