I hope my friend, Oxford County Commissioner Caldwell Jackson, is right when he says state revenues already collected for unorganized territories will offset the costs of reforming land use regulation in the unorganized territories (letter, April 19).
Local taxpayers should not have to fund these changes in their tax bills.
There have been some big and positive changes since I wrote of my concerns that proposed changes to Land Use Regulation Commission (the state agency in charge of land use regulations in our unorganized territories) would end up costing taxpayers money (March 18). The costly “county opt-out provision” has been removed and the bill that the Legislature passed assigns only a new, small and yet undefined oversight role to the county.
On the other hand, some LURC functions have been moved to other state agencies which will fragment the permitting process and make it less efficient. The final bill shifts permitting of small projects to the counties, large projects to the Department of Environmental Protection, and forestry permitting to the Department of Forestry. These changes are likely to translate into greater costs, at least to the applicants and the state agencies that will be taking on these new responsibilities.
While there has been much contention and debate about LURC reforms, I was encouraged to see the Legislature come together with a unanimous compromise of the final bill. That requires respectful discourse, absent of personal attacks with the best interests of taxpayers always in the forefront.
Roy Gedat, Norway
Treasurer, County of Oxford