I want to thank Rep. Dennis Keschl, R-Belgrade, for testifying against portions of L.D. 1798, the bill attempting to reform LURC, at the public hearing on Feb. 16.

Keschl was one of only three Republican legislators who testified in opposition to the bill, and he deserves our thanks. A few weeks before the public hearing, I attended a public meeting in Mount Vernon with Keschl and Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton. Keschl told us he opposed parts of the bill, and he made good on his word by testifying at the hearing.

Keschl has the foresight to recognize this legislation’s the flaws, which will weaken rather than improve the purpose of LURC: to protect the unique quality of the Maine North Woods while overseeing varied economic needs.

Keschl has the wisdom to see the harmfulness of certain portions of this bill; to allow eight members of the nine-member LURC board to consist of self-appointed county commissioners with no legislative confirmation, that counties can “opt out” of LURC after five years, and that large permitting projects be turned over to the Department of Environmental Protection.

These proposals will create an inconsistent, fragmented and complicated system of land-use rules and regulations, thereby defeating the purpose of the bill, which is to improve the efficiency of LURC.

Thanks to Keschl for continuing to support the original intent of the LURC task force and the bill, which was for LURC to be more efficient and effective in its job of providing careful stewardship and thoughtful land use planning decisions across Maine’s North Woods.

I encourage him to oppose the majority report on L.D. 1798 and instead support the minority report when it comes to a vote in the House of Representatives.

Liz Hays

Mount Vernon

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