Buffet Breakfast: 7:30 – 8:00 AM
Program: 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
MEREDA has assembled a panel to discuss the various issues associated with LURC and efforts to reform this agency. The discussion will prove to be interesting, as issues of policy are tightly intertwined with passionately held personal beliefs. This breakfast will introduce you to various points of view regarding this issue, which is sure to be a topic of very public debate over the next year.
Join us on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at the Senator Inn & Conference Center, as our presenters discuss Maine's system of regulating land use in the unorganized territory under LURC and the various reforms of LURC that will be debated during the next legislative session.
The Maine Land Use Regulation Commission was created in 1971 to serve as the land use authority for those areas of Maine without local government to serve this function. LURC's jurisdiction covers over 10.4 million acres of land, roughly half of the State, and is concentrated in eight counties in northern and eastern Maine. LURC itself is headquartered in Augusta, with a number of field offices throughout the State. Decisions are made by the seven members of the Commission and work is carried out by the Commission's staff.
LURC's role in land use management is not without controversy and the issues that this agency's role touches upon are numerous and complex. LURC's purpose is to provide for the orderly development of Maine's unorganized lands. This charge, however, implicates issues such as property rights, environmental stewardship, rural versus urban Maine and tax policy. Particularly strong feelings regarding local control are held by some of the 12,500 people who live in LURC territory, as what are normally decisions of local government are being made on a state-wide level by an agency in Augusta.
Those critical of LURC argue that the agency takes too long to make decisions, has developed regulations that are overly complicated and focuses on environmental stewardship at the expense of the local economy. Those
supportive of LURC believe that the agency is striking a balance in overseeing a state-wide resource that is facing pressures from new types of landowners.
This last legislative session a number of bills were introduced to reform LURC, including proposals to abolish LURC and transfer its responsibilities to County Commissions as well as creating three regional planning and permitting commissions to undertake some of LURC's responsibilities. Ultimately, the Legislature decided to create a 13-member commission to study LURC reforms over the fall of this year.
Meet the Panelists:
Patrick Strauch is the Executive Director of the Maine Forest Products Council. Trained in forest management and silviculture at the University of Maine, Patrick worked as a forester in Maine before joining the Council. As much of Maine's forest lands are regulated by LURC, Patrick and the Council have been involved in the debate regarding LURC reform.
Orlando Delogu is an Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Maine School of Law. Professor Delogu has taught and written extensively on environmental and land uses issues and has been an advocate for LURC reform.
Carlisle McLean is the Senior Natural Resources Policy Advisor to Governor LePage. Before serving on Governor LePage's staff, Carlie practiced environmental law, including practicing before LURC.
Elizabeth Swain is President of Barton & Gingold, a public affairs and public relations firm in Portland. From 1984 until 1992, Elizabeth served as a member of LURC, serving as Chair for four terms.
Christopher Gardner is the Executive Director of the Eastport Port Authority and he chairs the Washington County Commission. Representing a county with 42 percent of its acreage under LURC jurisdiction, Chris has advocated for more control of this land by County Commissioners.
Drew Sigfridson, MEREDA board member and broker at CB Richard Ellis/The Boulos Company, will act as moderator.