Series to explore land use and impacts of proposed LURC legislation

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WESTERN MAINE – In late February and March, economic development entities in western Maine in conjunction with the Western Mountains Alliance will host a regional public forum series exploring land use and the impacts of new LURC legislation in western Maine’s unorganized territories. Forums will feature a broad range of presenters including residential and woodlot property owners, policy experts and tourism interests. Forums are scheduled for Monday, Feb. 27, in Bethel, Tuesday, Feb. 28, in The Forks, and Thursday, March 1, in Carrabassett Valley. A fourth forum in Piscataquis County is yet to be scheduled.

In 2011, the LURC Reform Commission charged with making recommendations to improve the Land Use Regulation Commission released its suggestions. A small state agency with oversight for more than 10 million acres in Maine’s unorganized territories, LURC is responsible for permitting projects such as new home development, as well as resort and large scale wind projects.

Legislation introduced this session to improve how the agency operates includes changing its name to the Land Use Planning Commission, increasing representation of county commissioners on its board and allowing counties that meet certain requirements to provide their own oversight for land use planning and permitting in their unorganized territories. The public is invited to explore what these changes may mean for land use and regulation in western Maine’s unorganized territories.

The public forum series is supported by the Emanuel and Pauline A. Lerner Foundation in partnership with the Western Mountains Alliance, Somerset Economic Development Corporation, Piscataquis County Economic Development Council, Greater Franklin Economic Development Corporation, the Western Maine Economic Development Council and the Western Maine Legislative Caucus.

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Refreshments will be provided. RSVPs are requested. For more information, contact Tanya Swain, Western Mountains Alliance, at 778-3885 or tswain@westernmountainsalliance.org.

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