Release: Maine Policy Urges Veto on LD 2003
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2022
Contact: Jacob Posik
Director of Communications
Maine Policy Urges Gov. Mills to Veto LD 2003,
‘An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Increase Housing
Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions’
PORTLAND, Maine – Maine Policy Institute today is urging Gov. Janet Mills to veto LD 2003, a bill sponsored by House Speaker Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford) that would force municipalities to adopt zoning and land use rules as recommended by the Commission To Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions.
Maine Policy agrees that the state’s housing challenges are a product of unnecessary overregulation at the local level that hinders the ability of landowners to build or fully utilize their own private property.
However, Maine Policy fears the bill would cede local housing decision making to the Department of Economic and Community Development as it relates to the creation of statewide housing production goals, in addition to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development since the bill requires municipalities to adopt and enforce ordinances under the bill to “affirmatively further the purposes of the federal Fair Housing Act, 42 United States Code, Chapter 45.”
Though the measure was billed by its supporters as a free-market approach, LD 2003 would centralize local land use, zoning and community growth management and give central planners at the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Maine State Housing Authority unprecedented authority to establish state and regional housing production goals that municipalities would be required to enforce. It does not assist in free market development, but rather assigns a state government entity to oversee and manage housing production across the state. This is the opposite of a free-market approach.
Additionally, despite supposedly empowering landowners to utilize their property for additional use and development as they see fit, the bill also contains a provision that specifically allows municipalities to regulate short-term rentals to achieve the statewide or regional housing production goals established by the state. This is a direct infringement on private property rights.
A much better approach than top-down mandates from the state and federal governments related to local housing goals and production would be to support the adoption of less restrictive zoning and land use regulations at the local level through financial incentives for the communities that voluntarily choose to move in this direction. This would also result in much more manageable long-term growth for municipalities.
Maine Policy Institute originally testified neither for nor against LD 2003 and offered numerous recommendations to improve the bill and be part of the solution to Maine’s housing woes. However, since the final version of the bill allows the state and federal governments to dictate housing goals and production across the state and permits the regulation of short-term rentals to achieve these goals, we cannot support it becoming law in Maine and encourage Governor Mills to veto it.
“While successive amendments have taken into account some of the concerns we expressed in our initial testimony on LD 2003, we believe the reference to federal policy and opening the door to local overregulation of short-term rentals are incompatible with the goal of spurring a local culture of growth across Maine,” said director of policy Nick Murray.
Maine Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to expand individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Learn more about our work at www.mainepolicy.org.