Bills To Watch: Exempting small towns from new housing regulations (LD 214)


LD 214, “An Act to Amend the Laws Regarding Zoning and Land Use Restrictions to Limit Certain Requirements to Municipalities with a Population of More than 10,000,” sponsored by Rep. Dick Campbell (R-Orrington) would delay the implementation of various local housing and zoning mandates and limit their application to municipalities with more than 10,000 residents.

The 130th Maine Legislature passed, and in April 2021 Gov. Janet Mills signed, LD 2003, a sweeping housing reform bill championed by then-Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau and other members of the Commission To Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions. That bill imposed certain mandates on localities related to accessory dwelling units, affordable housing development, and local zoning to begin on July 1, 2023.

Rep. Campbell’s bill this session, LD 214, would delay the enforcement of those mandates until October 1. It would also distinguish that only towns “with a population over 10,000” would be subject to comply with LD 2003’s requirements.

Many voices in the last session questioned the wisdom of applying the mandates in LD 2003 to all towns, no matter their population; some are dependent on whether a town has a comprehensive plan. Passage of LD 214 would provide many Maine localities with an out, and the others with much-needed breathing room to figure out how to comply with the existing mandates.