2020 Summit

Flexing the Power of Home Rule: A Path Toward Regional Solutions

October 22, 2020, co-host cities: Biddeford and Saco


Post-Summit Webinar: October 29, 2020

 GrowSmart’s 2020 Summit took on questions that are even more relevant given our collective experience with the coronavirus pandemic: where can government be most effective? most innovative? are home rule and regional thinking mutually exclusive?

While local government can be described as a nimble testing ground for new concepts and tools, there is often value and efficiency in regional and statewide approaches. Home rule isn’t going away, nor should it. So, how can we adapt this New England tradition for the coming decades, and even for the next few years as recovery from the pandemic is underway?

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we offered a unique Summit experience this year. Our Biddeford location, in the Pepperell Mill, hosted about 30 participants with appropriate social distancing. In addition, we worked with regional partners to offer satellite locations limited to 25 attendees, all connected via high-speed internet.  An option to attend the summit completely virtual from your own home was also available.

Our regional partners and locations as well as virtual participation:

Keynote Speakers:

  • Colin Woodard, State & National Affairs Writer, Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram
  • Anthony Flint, Senior Fellow, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy


Time Summit Program
8:30 AM Registration opens
9:30 AM Welcome from GrowSmart Maine
9:45 AM

 Colin Woodard –

Home Rule on in a former Massachusetts colony

10:15 AM

Anthony Flint –

A symbiotic view of regionalism and local control

10:45 AM Keynote Speakers’ Conversation and Audience Q&A
11:30 AM Local Break Out Groups – occurred at each satellite location to allow for discussion
1:30 PM Wrap Up



Post Summit Webinar 


We added a new component to the Summit as part of the COVID adaptation. The six location+virtual hybrid event provided a chance to do something we hadn’t before. There was a webinar of 60-90 minutes one week after the Summit, which allowed participants to think through discussions and explore potential next steps. This time was used to dive deeper into the Summit discussions, exploring situations where regional solutions make sense, and from there, ideas on how to define a region and begin to invite partners to the process.

The Summit can be more than a one-day meeting where people talk about ideas and network, though there is certainly value in that part of the Summit. We can facilitate tangible outcomes throughout Maine.  We will continue to post and share about what we talked about and learned during this discussion. 

Thanks To Our Sponsors

Previous Summits

If you would like more information about any of these summits/annual meetings please contact info at growsmartmaine.org.

2019 Summit ‘Smart Growth Builds Wellness” 

2018 Summit ‘The Power of Localism: Tapping into a Maine Tradition’, Bangor

2017 Summit ‘First, Build a Bridge’, Westbrook

2016 Summit ‘Leaning Into Change: Maine-Grown Solutions’, Waterville

2015 Summit ‘Community Solutions to a Changing Climate’, Biddeford

2014 Summit ‘The Dollars and $ense of Smart Growth’, Augusta

2013 Annual Meeting ‘Ten Years of Smart Growth & GrowSmart Maine’, Augusta

2012 Summit ‘Economy, Environment, Community’, Augusta

2011 Annual Meeting ‘Check in on Sprawl’ – Evan Richert, Waterville