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March 23, 2012 | last updated March 26, 2012 11:03 am

Committee approves LURC restructuring

A legislative committee has unanimously approved a bill to restructure the Land Use Regulation Commission. The bill would replace the seven-member commission with a nine-member panel made up mostly of county commissioners.

The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commission previously deadlocked over whether counties should be allowed to withdraw from LURC if they were dissatisfied with it, according to the Bangor Daily News. Lawmakers decided to scrap the opt-out provision from LD 1798, resulting in a 12-0 vote in favor of it, with one member absent. The bill would replace the governor-nominated LURC members with a nine-member panel, eight of whom would be county commissioners or their designees. All members would have to be approved by the Legislature. The move would allow more local control on land-use decisions in unorganized territories, supporters said. The bill also would make the Maine Department of Environmental Protection responsible for all commercial wind power projects.

The Maine House and Senate must now consider the bill.

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