Maine Legislative and Policy Committee Wrap Up from 129th Legislature

The MAP Legislative and Policy Committee (LPC) members for the 129th Legislative Session were: Maureen O’Meara, Damon Yakovleff, Michael Foster, Justin Barker, Lee Jay Feldman, and Jared Woolston.  Special thanks to Maureen O’Meara and Lee Jay Feldman for their institutional knowledge and guidance. Thanks also to Maine Municipal Association (MMA), GrowSmart Maine, and Bicycle Coalition of Maine (BCM) legislative staff and volunteers for routine technical support and collaboration.    

The MAP LPC presented draft policy objectives at MAP’s January General Membership meeting.  Those policy objectives were subsequently amended based on feedback from the MAP members and approved by the MAP Board. 

The LPC discussed all relevant legislative requests (LRs) and legislative documents (LDs) in our standing Friday morning conference calls from January until the end of the 1st regular session of the 129th Legislature: June 20, 2019.  All LPC testimony was first approved by the MAP Board prior to issuance for public hearings. 

The LPC provided testimony on the following LDs:

LD 1141 “RESOLVE, DIRECTING THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO CONSTRUCT THE MERRYMEETING TRAIL FROM TOPSHAM TO GARDINER” (CARRIED OVER)

LD 1367 “AN ACT TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT THE STATE’S RAIL CORRIDORS” (DEAD)

LD 1391 “AN ACT TO ENSURE CONSISTENCY OF LANGUAGE IN MUNICIPAL DOCUMENTS WITH THE LANGUAGE IN COMPREHENSIVE PLANS” (DEAD)

LD 970 “AN ACT TO ENCOURAGE POLICIES REGARDING ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS UNDER LOCAL COMPREHENSIVE PLANS AND ZONING REQUIREMENTS” (SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR, Title 30-A)

LD 563 “AN ACT TO HELP MUNICIPALITIES PREPARE FOR SEA LEVEL RISE” (SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR, Title 30-A)

LD 209 “AN ACT TO PROHIBIT MUNICIPALITIES FROM PROHIBITING SHORT TERM RENTALS” (DEAD)


Maine Association of Planners

Recommendations to the Maine Climate Council

May 8, 2020

The Maine Association of Planners, or MAP, is a nonprofit organization of professional public, private, and nonprofit planners, citizen volunteers serving on local boards, and Mainers from other professions like attorneys, landscape architects, professors, and developers. Though our membership works in diverse settings, we are all dedicated to enhancing the practice of planning in Maine.

Members of MAP have been following the Climate Council process and have taken note that land use issues are cross-cutting in the Council’s work, spanning multiple working groups. As the Council digs in to identify areas of focus for recommendations and further work, MAP would like to offer some summary recommendations for your consideration. These recommendations are endorsed by MAP’s Legislative and Policy Committee, and by the Board of Directors. Please distribute these as is helpful within the Climate Council structure and we would be pleased to answer any questions. Thank you for the opportunity to comment, and for the important work of the Maine Climate Council.

 Sincerely,

 Samantha Horn, President

Maine Association of Planners

 

Provide Flexible Ways for Communities to Do Climate Action Planning

 1.   While the federal government and the State have important parts to play, municipalities also have a critical role in helping Maine achieve its GHG emission goals.

2.   This does not necessarily need to be done through Growth Management Program comprehensive plans, but the climate action strategies do need to be coordinated with land use, transportation, distributed power generation and grid development, housing, economic development, and related considerations.

3.   Nor do municipalities need to do climate mitigation on their own and should be able to choose to participate in pairs or groups of communities or as part of regional plans that include actionable recommendations for each municipality.

4.   Title 30-A and/or other relevant State statutes should be amended to require climate change mitigation and resilience planning with the flexibility described in Points #2 and 3.

 

Strengthen the Role of Regional and State Planning Organizations

 1.   Meeting the climate challenge will require a greater emphasis on regional planning in terms of renewable energy generation and grid investments, increasing in-state agriculture, linking transportation with village and other compact development, etc. Regional planning organizations need to be significantly more empowered and better funded.

2.   State planning assistance programs that support regional and local planning and that serve to synchronize climate action across sectors need to be restored to previous levels with a significant increase in resources.

3.   The original Growth Management Act legislation, as well as the former Land & Water Resources Council, should be reviewed as part of considering how to restructure community and regional planning in Maine to meet the climate challenge.

 

Provide Climate Action Planning Incentives

 1.   Technical assistance and planning grants need to be made available to inland as well as coastal communities and regional planning organizations for work on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

2.   Regulatory incentives, such as Site Location of Development capacity, by which municipalities with strong comprehensive plans and site plan review mechanisms are allowed to approve larger development projects without duplicative DEP review, should also be implemented as incentives for communities to pursue climate action planning.

129th Legislative Session (2019-2020)