AUGUSTA — A legislative committee will vote in the coming days on a bill that would retool a regulatory agency that oversees the Maine’s vast Unorganized Territory.

A public hearing Thursday drew supporters and opponents of a proposal to limit the power of the Land Use Regulation Commission and give land owners and counties more say over planning and zoning in the 10 million-acre region.

Supporters told the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee that LURC rules are overly burdensome and stifle economic development. But opponents say weakening the agency will lead to a slow deterioration of the character of Maine’s North Woods.

Conservation Commissioner Bill Beardsley said ecotourism and conservation are an integral part of the revitalization of Maine’s wilderness region, but that LURC now serves as a barrier to economic development.

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