NORWAY – The impact of proposed legislation designed to limit large-scale nonresidential development to specific areas will be the topic of public forums this month in Norway, Bridgton, Auburn and Kingfield.

If enacted, the Act to Update the Site Location of Development Law would limit large scale nonresidential development to designated growth zones, urban compact zones, census designated areas or those areas served by public sewer systems, according to Darryl Brown, president of the Main-Land Development Consultants of Livermore Falls.

The legislation and would also prohibit disturbance of slopes 20 percent or greater, limiting projects in Maine’s mountainous regions, and give the Department of Environmental Protection the authority to approve or reject site contractors selected for project construction.

It is sponsored by Rep. Bob Duchesne, D-Hudson,

“We’re not trying to be confrontational,” Brown said Monday. “That’s not our goal. Our goal is to educate. Very few people knew this was happening.”

Local officials, including town managers, Planning Board members, and others such as builders and attorneys have been invited to the first forum from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Friday, at the Norway Legion Hall on Main Street.

Forums are also scheduled for Bridgton on March 17, Auburn on March 24 and Kingfield March 26.

Brown said the proposed amendment to the existing site laws developed in the 1970s would require developments of certain size be restricted to specific areas such as growth areas. “There are some 200 towns that don’t even have comprehensive plans,” said Brown of the step towns must take before a growth area can be designated.

For example, he said, if Lowe’s wanted to locate in Waterford it would be impossible under the pending legislation because Waterford has no urban compact zone, growth area or public sewer. Norway and Paris have public sewer, but it is not far reaching, making development difficult, he said.

Brown said the legislation also proposed that if a developer can not place a residential subdivision in a growth area, it can be placed outside of one but only if 55 percent of the land area is donated to open space or conservation land.

In addition to Brown, Tom DuBois and Bob Berry, engineers at Main Land Development Consultants will be at the forum.

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