BREWER- Extra chairs had to be brought in for a public hearing on a proposal that would allow development on more than a million acres of land.
“The package that we’re working on is intended to do three key things,” Nick Livesay, director of the Land Use Planning Commission explained.
“One is intended to better guide locations for new zones near existing communities. It’s intended to better protect the environment, particularly some of the interior and more remote areas,” he said. “It’s also intended to evolve and really recognize changes in our natural resource-based economy.”
Not everyone is happy about the proposal.
“The Natural Resources Council of Maine has very strong concerns about this proposal. It would open over 1.3 million acres of Maine’s woods to residential subdivisions and 800,000 of those acres would also be open to commercial development,” Cathy Johnson, a representative of NRCM said.
Some of the arguments against the proposal include taking away areas for people to camp, hike and hunt.
Representatives from the Natural Resources Council of Maine also believe it would hurt businesses.
“What I’ve heard from people in the organized towns is that this would draw development out of their communities because the tax rate is lower outside of the communities” Johnson added.
Commission members say they have considered all of these things.
“We’ve really spent the past three years doing outreach and gathering as much information as we can,” Livesay said. “We’ve been responsive trying to factor in the information we get from those different individuals and groups.”
LUPC hopes to consider the proposal by April.