Current Legislative Testimony

Learn about GrowSmart Maine’s testimony for various Smart Growth topics below.











GrowSmart Testifies in Favor of LD 739, “Resolve, To Establish a Task Force To Study Economic Development in Rural Areas”

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 has the potential to do just that.

As a concept bill, this legislation provides the opportunity to discuss an important issue and develop ideas to address potential solutions. As this committee looks at the challenges of economic development and opportunity in rural Maine, I encourage members to look to Charting Maine’s Future: Making Headway, an update to the 2006 Action Plan released by GrowSmart Maine just last year. In all components of the plan, rural issues are addressed with proposals for continued investments, outreach, and collaboration.

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GrowSmart MaineTestifies in Favor of LD 413, “An Act To Expand Eligible Project Costs in Development Districts”

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. This bill will allow for municipal funding of regional efforts in economic development projects. Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) is an extremely powerful economic development tool available to municipalities. It makes great sense to allow this change in the TIF program.

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GrowSmart Maine Testifies in opposition to LD 483, “An Act to Promote Small Businesses by Enhancing the Use of On-premises Signs ”

We remain steadfast in a long-standing opposition to any weakening of Maine’s highly effective ban on billboards. The 2006 Brookings Institute Report, Charting Maine’s Future, commissioned by GrowSmart Maine, emphasizes that 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 signage 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.

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GrowSmart Maine Testifies in Opposition to LD 220 – “An Act to Ban the United Nations Agenda 21 in Maine”

Smart growth, as you can see in my testimony, is quite simply an effort and a set of principles to allow for greater choice and deliberative thinking and planning about our how communities grow, so that we are making most effective use of existing infrastructure and pulling demand away from rural lands for which the “highest and best use” truly is NOT development, but rather farming, forestry, and rural living. I’d ask you to review the ten principles listed as well – these are compatible with our mission, just as I expect they fit with your view of how your community, how Maine should grow. This certainly isn’t something that should be banned in Maine.

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Legislative Update – 2/22/2013

The 126th Legislature is in full swing, with hundreds of bills coming out of the Office of the Revisor each week, each then referred to committees of jurisdiction for public hearings and work sessions before coming before the House and Senate for votes by the full legislature.

For GrowSmart Maine, this is a time to review all bills with an eye towards where we can provide pivotal information and a unique perspective on issues key to our mission.  
In making these decisions, we look at each legislative proposal from the perspectives that include:

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LUPC begins Community-Guided Planning and Zoning in Aroostook County

Regional comprehensive planning is key to growing Maine’s economy in a way that builds resilient communities and protects working and natural landscapes.   Whether in the relatively healthy southern part of the state or in the more challenged rim counties, a process to recognize the valuable assets in a region and building a plan to strengthen the economy is essential to Maine’s health and future.

Last year, the Land Use Regulation Commission was replaced with the Land Use Planning Commission in a process that called upon the Joint Legislative Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry as well as a diverse and committed stakeholder group that met numerous times across the state.  The intent was to ensure that the reconfigured Commission would be successful in balancing the many needs and interests related to Maine’s unorganized territories.  

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It Makes a Village – Success in Downtown Norway

On the 10 year anniversary of the Norway Opera House’s designation as a Most Endangered Property, its revitalization will be celebrated by a ribbon cutting Friday, March 1. Much more than a local event, its story is heartwarming and inspiring to other towns who strive to remain or become “communities”. The Norway Opera House has broad significance and state-wide relevance as a prime example of how policy initiatives can “hit the pavement” with success.

Norway Opera House ClockTowerLocated in Norway’s historic center of socioeconomic interaction, the Norway Opera House was the community’s symbol of pride, prosperity and community activity for many years, featuring famous headliners and healthy first-floor retail establishments that activated Main Street. Built immediately after a fire in 1894 which devastated Norway’s downtown, this building was a symbol of reconstruction and the largest building on Main Street. The Opera House’s landmark clock tower still dominates the Main Street skyline and can be seen from 360 degrees and for considerable distances.

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Community Planning Matters

We know you want to be involved in making your own community more vibrant, with walkable streets in the downtown and healthy productive rural areas as well.  

GrowSmart Maine is in the information gathering stage of developing  an inventory of community planning resources in Maine.  While this information will be handy for our own use in advocacy and connecting people across the state, we also plan to develop a way for all Mainers to access this information.
To help in that effort, drop us a quick email at or post your comment here!
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