In 2008, less than 1 percent of Maine citizens – all residents of rural Maine – lost a right still enjoyed by more than 99 percent of our fellow Mainers.
On June 6, a bi-partisan majority of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee voted in support of a bill that paves the way for the restoration of that right.
LD616 is a measure brought by the residents of five western Maine communities: Lexington, Concord and Carrying Place Townships and Highland and Pleasant Ridge Plantations. We are asking the Legislature to reinstate our ability to take part in the decision-making process concerning any zoning changes in our communities. This basic right is still retained by almost every other Maine citizen – everyone who lives in an organized town and all those living in unorganized or deorganized townships which are outside a specific area called the Expedited Permitting Area (EPA).
LD616 also has an amendment which would create a process in which all other disenfranchised Mainers could petition LUPC for removal from the EPA so that they, too, can have an equal say in the future direction of their home towns.
We’re enormously pleased to see Legislators from both sides of the aisle supporting this “citizens’ rights” measure. For more than five years, a small segment of Maine’s population has dealt with the hardships that come with inequality and a loss of rights. It is our hope that the full House and Senate will follow the lead of the EUT Committee and support restoring rural Mainer’s rights by voting in favor of LD616.
Karen Bessey Pease
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