Earlier this week, GrowSmart Maine was in Brewer for the Public Hearing of the Land Use Planning Commission, which acts as the Planning Board for 10 million acres in the Unorganized Territories. The public hearing on rules related to adjacency, which dictates that new development must be “adjacent” to similar sites, was nearly four hours long and at times rather contentious. You’ve likely seen this issue in the news, and today’s Kennebec Journal editorial urged caution in proceeding with these draft rules.
GrowSmart Maine has been working with LUPC staff for several years now, as both adjacency and subdivision rules, which have been running on a parallel track, have been developed from vision to concept to draft rules. With many organizations and individuals focusing on the potential harm to the environment, wildlife and water quality, we have focused on economic and community impacts.
While we agree that improvements to these rules should be made, we have been highlighting all along that the towns within and neighboring the LUPC jurisdiction may be harmed if development is facilitated far beyond their borders by these proposed rules. GrowSmart Maine has offered to work with LUPC staff to build on their earlier outreach to these towns.
We will continue to engage with staff and commissioners, knowing we share a common goal; thriving communities and a healthy rural economy within the truly unique natural setting that, if well planned for, can accommodate environmental qualities as well as both the forest products and destination tourism industries.
We invite you to read our testimony at recent LUPC hearings, and to stay in touch as this issue progresses.