Category Archives: Act to Update the Site Location of Development Law Forum Series

MEREDA Awards Darryl Brown and Main-Land Team for Public Policy Advocacy

Darryl Brown Receiving MEREDA Award

~The owner of the Livermore Falls based Main-Land Development Consultants receives award for his company’s commitment to educating Mainers about proposed changes to development law~

PORTLAND- The Livermore Falls businessman who organized opposition to proposed drastic reforms to Maine development law has been honored for his advocacy.

Darryl Brown, president/owner of the Livermore Falls based land planning firm Main-Land Development Consultants, was given the Public Policy Award from the Maine Real Estate and Development Association (MEREDA) at the organization’s annual conference and showcase held last week in Portland.

Brown was presented the award before a crowd of 500 plus people by Raymond Cota, president of MEREDA, a Portland based organization now in its 25th year whose mission is to promote an environment for responsible development and ownership of real estate throughout Maine.

While the annual Public Policy Award is given each year to a Mainer whose efforts have had a significant impact on public policy decisions for the benefit of the real estate industry in the state, the honor celebrates the entire Main-Land team’s commitment to the cause of working for reasonable development regulation.

Last winter, Brown, who founded Main-Land in 1974 and is a former state legislator, learned of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s plan to update the Site Location of Development Law in a way he believed would drastically decelerate development in the state.

Had the revisions been enacted as proposed, they would have limited large scale non-residential development to designated zones or districts served by public sewer systems; mandated preservation of at least 55 percent of the land area in residential developments over 30 acres; prohibited the disturbances of slopes 20 percent or greater, severely slowing projects in Maine’s mountainous regions; and given the state the authority to review proposed project contractors.

Fearing the impact these restrictions would have on attracting and retaining growth in the state, Brown and his staff rapidly rallied to
educate Mainers and their elected representatives about the effect of the proposed changes through a seven-stop series of informational forums around central and western Maine, media outreach and a statewide letters to legislators campaign.

Their efforts resulted in a turnout of more than 100 concerned citizens packing a public hearing last April when the bill arrived in Augusta as LD 1268: The Act to Update the Site Location of Development Law. As a result of testimony heard that day and in subsequent work sessions that Brown and Main-Land staffers participated in, the version of the bill eventually approved eliminated many of its most limiting laws and ensured Maine would remain open to responsible development and the jobs and revenue it brings.

“After working so hard to build this business for the past 35 years, it was a huge risk to challenge a powerful state agency but as a citizen and a small business owner, I strongly believe that in these trying economic times, we should be encouraging investment in our communities, not legislatively preventing it,” Brown explained.

“I am proud that our work at Main-Land is being honored by MEREDA, but even more so that we helped to shape a powerful piece of legislation that reflects the needs of regulators and the real people who must live by their rules. While we may not all work in Augusta, we need to work to keep our voices heard there.”

In addition to Brown’s award, other honors handed out by MEREDA at the event included the President’s Award to Mark R. Bergeron, of Sevee & Maher Engineers in Cumberland; the Robert B. Patterson, Jr. Founders’ Award to David H. Cook, of AlliedCook Construction Corp. in Scarborough; and the Volunteer of the Year Award to Gary D. Vogel, of Drummond Woodsum & MacMahon in Portland.

ABOUT MAIN-LAND DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANTS
Main-Land Development Consultants has been providing land use planning services including surveying, soils testing, mapping, engineering, permitting and wastewater design to both public and private projects throughout western Maine and beyond since 1974. The company, now in its 35th year, is based in Livermore Falls and can be found online at www.main-landdci.com. For more information, call (207) 897- 6752.

LD 1268 Moves to Maine House With ALL Objectional Portions Pulled

Great news!!! After months of hard work to fight LD 1268: An Act to Update the Site Location of Development Laws, we here at Main-Land Development Consultants can happily report that the Joint Standing Committee on Natural Resources has moved forward with a bill that ensures rural Maine will remain open to responsible development.
Following dozens of very thoughtful and persuasive testimonies at the LD 1268 public hearing in mid-April, the Natural Resources Committee held two work sessions on the bill- one on April 28 and the other on May 8. Main-Land Development Consultants owner Darryl Brown, who has led the challenge to this bill from the beginning, was invited by the committee to participate in both sessions, and was there last Friday when the committee voted unanimously to pass a completely modified version of LD 1268 which had every single aspect of the bill that we at Main-Land and other opponents from around the state found disagreeable removed.

Specifically, the following provisions were eliminated from the legislation.

  • Everything relating to the location elements – this is in reference to the piece that would have restricted DEP approved projects to only those areas where towns had identified designated growth areas;
  • the definition of “significant groundwater aquifer” and changed the groundwater standard. Basically, the existing language in the law stays as is;
  • the exceptions for a lot of 40 acres or more in the definition of “subdivision.” Again, the 40 acre exception remains as is;
  • -the low-density subdivision exemption. We are still able to create a “low density subdivision” without triggering the Site Law;
  • and, all of the additional bonding requirements that the legislation tried to do.

Also, the new legislation

  • changed the exception for a sale or lease of a lot to an abutter in the definition of “subdivision”. Existing language in the law remains unchanged in relation to transfers to abutters;
  • and changed the exception for a common lot created with a conservation easement in the definition of “subdivision.”

The new bill, which actually contains some potentially positive provisions for the development community (issues relating to long-term construction, providing broader permitting authority to MDOT projects and providing municipalities a method to substitute local stormwater permits for state permits) now moves to the House and then to the Senate, where it is expected to be passed in both places without discussion.

In the meantime, please know how grateful all of us at Main-Land Development Consultants are for your continued contributions, support and encouragement throughout this process. Whether you attended one of our seven forums around Western Maine, or bravely told the committee how LD 1268 would hurt your community, you were an invaluable part of the process that helped protect rural Maine and its future. Thank you.

Watch Out: Locational Element Added to LD 1333

As you know from our previous post, all unsavory pieces of L.D. 1268 were eliminated by the Committee, a major victory that is attributed to the hard work of all of you who spoke out against this potentially paralyzing piece of legislation.

However, in response, DEP has worked to insert language into an amendment to LD 1333, An Act to Establish Climate and Energy Planning in Maine that would give that agency sweeping authority related to the site law that they’d previously hoped to gain through LD 1268. This would be a back door approach to potentially add the “locational element” that we at Main-Land Development Consultants so vigorously opposed with L.D. 1268.

We clearly believe LD 1333 should be defeated as a result, and will do everything in our power to ensure that happens. In the meantime, we encourage you to please contact your legislators (House and Senate Members) to let them know of your opposition to L.D. 1333 and thank them for their support of LD 1268.