Maine Passes Zoning Reform Laws

The state legislature passed two bills, one supporting accessory dwelling units and another incentivizing adaptive reuse, aimed at boosting housing affordability.

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May 3, 2022, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

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In an update to last week’s story, Maine’s governor signed into law two zoning reform bills aimed at slowing the state’s housing crisis. LD 2003 is “aimed at facilitating the development of affordable housing by reforming zoning laws and cutting red tape, a top priority for advocates during this year’s legislative session.” As Evan Popp reports, “Among other stipulations, the bill makes it easier for property owners to build accessory dwelling units on lots zoned for single-family use.”

“The state is experiencing a shortage of about 20,000 affordable options and around 25,000 Maine households are on a waitlist for federal Section 8 housing vouchers. In addition, nearly 60% of renters in the state spend half their income on housing.” Meanwhile, rents continue to rise, harming low-income households the most. “A study from 2021 found that the average wage needed in the state to afford a two-bedroom rental home was $21.39 an hour, far above Maine’s $12.75 an hour minimum wage.”

Governor Mills also signed LD 201, which incentivizes the conversion of historic buildings into affordable housing. “LD 201 also requires that MaineHousing review annually the percentage of total square feet of completed projects that qualifies as new affordable housing.”

Thursday, April 28, 2022 in Maine Beacon

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