The Star-Herald

NRCM slates Mars Hill meeting on North Woods changes

MARS HILL, Maine — The Land Use Planning Commission is currently considering the largest and most significant policy proposal in its entire history, and the Natural Resources Council of Maine invites residents to an informational meeting Thursday, June 14, at Bigrock’s Ski Area Lodge in Mars Hill at 7 p.m. to learn more about the proposal.

For more than 40 years, LUPC’s “one-mile rule of adjacency” has guided responsible development in Maine’s North Woods by requiring all new development to take place within a mile of existing development of a similar type, use, and scale. This policy has protected Maine’s forests, prevented habitat fragmentation, discouraged sprawling and unsightly strip development, and supported existing communities.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine opposes a new LUPC proposal that would replace the one-mile rule and instead allow development to stretch 10 miles from boundaries of “rural hubs” and two miles from public roads. Close to two million acres of land in Maine’s Unorganized Territories would become vulnerable to development under this proposal. See this map of areas affected.

This proposal could harm Maine’s North Woods and its communities by:

  • Fragmenting forests and wildlife habitat
  • Putting an unknown number of lakes at risk of commercial or residential development
  • Allowing commercial and residential development near remote trails like the Appalachian Trail and Allagash Wilderness Waterway
  • Fueling development sprawl that detracts from vibrant downtowns and raises service costs
  • Encouraging strip development along Scenic Byways
  • Jeopardizing the remote character of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

The public may share comments at LUPC’s public hearing on Wednesday, June 20, at 1 p.m. at Jeff’s Catering (15 Littlefield Way) in Brewer. For more information, or if unable to attend the meeting, submit comments to LUPC by email or mail 

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