GrowSmart Maine regularly testifies in Augusta on relevant smart growth legislation. This is one of the most important ways that we represent our members’ interests.
As we weigh in on key issues, we will post our progress and views here. We encourage our members to engage in the process as well.
We advocate by weighing in on legislation others propose, as well as engaging with legislators to submit bills and resolves that will meet our key priorities:
- That development supports mitigating the effects of climate change;
- That rules and regulations for land use are fair, sustainable and equitable; and
- That communities are fiscally sustainable while providing amenities including affordable and responsible housing and transportation choices.
To achieve these goals, we will advocate within the following four areas:
2023 POLICY ACTION
PROBLEM STATEMENT: Maine’s current uncoordinated approach to building places is causing real, unintended, and significant social, environmental, financial, economic, and cultural challenges and requires the creation of a cohesive approach to land development, redevelopment, and placemaking.
Policy Action 2023 is a set of sixteen proposals aligned within eight working groups, each of which provides a single step—some incremental, some quite significant—toward the shared goal developed within the Policy Action 2023 process last spring: to address barriers to and create incentives for equitable, sustainable growth and development that strengthens downtowns and villages of all sizes while pulling development pressure away from productive and open natural areas. We do so acknowledging that Maine has urban, rural, and suburban settings for which any solution may or may not be a fit and a variety of people who deserve to be welcomed into their communities.
Resolve, to Improve the Coordination and Delivery of Planning Grants and Technical Assistance to Communities in Maine
An Act to Increase Maine’s Housing Supply by Prohibiting Certain Zoning Requirements in Areas Where Public Sewer and Water Infrastructure Are Available and in Designated Growth Areas
An Act to Encourage Affordable Housing and Mixed-use Development by Establishing a Thriving Corridors Program
An Act to Expand the Maine Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit
Resolve Directing the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to convene a stakeholder group tasked with a Comprehensive overhaul and modernization of the State Subdivision Statutes
Resolve, to Prepare Pre Approved Building Types
An Act to Provide for Safe Roadway Construction Design Criteria
A Resolve to Establish a Vision Zero Task Force to Recommend Strategies to Achieve the Goal of Eliminating Traffic Fatalities and Serious Injuries
An Act to Advance the State’s Public Transit Systems by Reinvigorating the Public Transit Advisory Council and Increasing Funding
An Act to Grant Municipalities the Authority to Set Certain Lower Motor Vehicle Speed Limits Without a Department of Transportation Speed Study
PLANNING FOR AG
Planning for Ag provides an opportunity to prioritize farmland protection and farm viability as essential smart growth outcomes equal to and directly related to directing growth to where development makes sense for the long term.
In June, GrowSmart Maine provided an update on the Policy Action 2023 bills, many of which have been carried over to the next session. Stay tuned for more information about next steps in ensuring effective implementation of those bills that passed, and next steps to...
An Act to Require Compliance with Natural or Agricultural Resource Protection Ordinances
Directing the Department of Agriculture, Conservation andForestry to Study and Report on Soil Carbon Sequestration Incentive Programs
An Act to Protect Agricultural Lands by Creating a Permitting Process for Solar Development on Those Lands
An Act To Increase Affordable Housing Development, with amendments
An Act to Exempt Certain Conservation Lots from Municipal Subdivision Review
An Act To Increase Land Access For Historically Disadvantaged Populations
There are legislative proposals critical to our mission in addition to our three tracts for advocacy. These include our participation in the Wabanaki Alliance Tribal Coalition to support sovereignty, portions of the budget and bonds, bills that either align with or run counter to Policy Action 2023 proposals. We monitor several dozen such bills, and will testify when we believe GrowSmart’s voice is needed, either in support, opposition, neither for nor against but with information for the committee.
An Act to Foster Stable and Affordable Home Ownership in Mobile Home Parks by Amending the Laws Relating to the Sale of Mobile Home Parks
An Act to Repurpose Vacant Shopping Mall and Retail Space to Mixed-use Housing and Retail
An Act to Extend Development District Tax Increment Financing Districts
Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine in support of LD 1674, An Act to Require and Encourage Safe and Interconnected Transportation Construction Projects Download a PDF of this testimony April 27, 2023 Senator Chipman, Representative...
An Act to Amend the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law to Encourage Housing Construction
Biennial Budget for Fiscal Years 2024-2025 and LD 259, Highway Fund for Fiscal Years 2024-2025
MAINE BROADBAND COALITION
The Maine Broadband Coalition serves a vital purpose, as the voice of Maine’s internet users, working to enable better service for everyone. The internet has relevance to every legislative committee and often intersects with numerous bills. Learn more about the Maine Broadband Coalition. For the 131st Legislature, the Coalition Policy Committee, chaired by GrowSmart Maine, is focused on just a few related to the Maine Broadband Coalition’s guiding values including:
- Protection of Maine’s digital privacy law, passed in 2019, to ensure our online data is not used without our express permission;
- Closing the loophole in municipal campaign reporting to prevent the kind of unreported spending by out-of-state entities in opposition to municipal broadband proposals seen in several communities last year;
- Addressing barriers to municipally-owned broadband infrastructure so that all options for delivering affordable, high-speed internet are possible statewide.
SUBMIT PUBLIC TESTIMONY: All bills and state agency commissioner nominees are assigned to one of 19 standing joint committees and receive a public hearing. Members of the public can offer testimony in support or opposition to a bill in person or via Zoom during the public hearing or in writing. If you want to testify during the hearing via Zoom, you must register at least 30 minutes before the hearing begins. You do not need to register to testify in person.
To register for Zoom or to submit your testimony in writing, follow these steps:
- Visit the legislative testimony page HERE.
- Select Public hearing
- Select the committee that is hearing the bill
- Select the date and time of the hearing
- Select the appropriate bill number
- To register for Zoom, select “I would like to testify electronically over Zoom.”
- To submit written testimony, upload your file or enter the testimony in the field.
- If you plan to testify in person, you are asked to bring 20 copies of your testimony to distribute to committee members.
You can find committee assignments and public hearing dates and times on the bill’s website. While you can submit testimony at any time and it will be shared with committee members and become part of the public record, only testimony submitted online by midnight on the day of the bill’s public hearing will be included on the bill’s web page.
People with special needs who require accommodations to participate in a hearing should contact the Legislative Information Office as soon as possible by phone (207) 287-1692 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
local and regional advocacy
There are local and regional issues that rise to statewide significance when considering their alignment with smart growth.
For these issues, GrowSmart Maine may take a position or create a resource when we believe our engagement will prove useful for those directly engaged and others who may be dealing with similar challenges. Click the links below to download a PDF:
- GrowSmart Maine Position on the Maine Turnpike Authority Gorham East/West Spur Project – June 2022
- Implementing the Vision: First Steps—Practical Steps to Transform Commercial Strips Into Mixed-Use Centers
- The World of a Developer: Moving an Idea to Reality
- Portland, Maine: A Citizen’s Guide to Commercial Development. How Can I Be Involved?
- Developers: Neighborhood Meetings That Build Support for Your Project
GrowSmart Maine engages in public policy on the federal level primarily through key partnerships:
Smart Growth America advocates with Congress and the administration for a transportation system that safely, affordably and conveniently connects people of all means and ability to jobs, services, and opportunity through multiple modes of travel and development that is sustainable, equitable, and walkable.