It was very disappointing to several residents of Vassalboro when Rep. Karen Foster failed to show up for a scheduled public meeting with her constituents on Feb. 9.

We had invited her to come and discuss several bills that Vassalboro citizens were interested in, including bills that her committees would soon hold a public hearing on. Not only did she cancel two hours before the start of the meeting, she declined to reschedule for another date and time.

We hope to engage Foster particularly on L.D. 1798, the proposed reforms to the Land Use Regulation Commission.

L.D. 1798 is full of flaws that would create an ineffective, inconsistent, and expensive alternative to a model that has worked for more than 40 years. If the provision that allows counties to opt out of LURC after three years remains in the bill, the result will be the eventual abolishment of LURC altogether. This provision should be removed from the bill.

If county commissioners are allowed to appoint themselves as LURC commissioners, the LURC commission will become highly politicized. No other state boards or commissions make appointments locally. Furthermore, it is unlikely that county commissioners are qualified to serve as LURC commissioners because they have no experience in land use planning, permitting, zoning or enforcement. LURC commissioners should be appointed through the normal process of nomination, legislative committee hearing, and Senate confirmation to maintain its statewide focus and the integrity of LURC.

These are just some of the concerns we had hoped to raise with Foster regarding L.D. 1798. Maine’s North Woods is integral to our economy and quality of place. LURC serves to protect this critical asset. I urge Foster to oppose L.D. 1798.

Mary Ellen Johnston


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