Maine Law Promotes Smart Growth

New state legislation encourages cities to plan around ‘smart growth’ principles to preserve farmland and open space, and use infill development to build more housing.

1 minute read

April 17, 2024, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Aerial view of Maine harbor town with fall colors on trees.

Dakota / Adobe Stock

Writing in Maine Public, Zara Norman describes how Maine towns are shifting to ‘smart growth’ principles to preserve open space and build livable, affordable cities.

By 2040, more than 50,000 acres of Maine farmland may be lost to urban and low-density conversion, according to the American Farmland Trust. That will put pressure on regional food systems, hurt farmers and worsen the effects of climate change, Julia Freedgood, a senior fellow with the farmland trust, said.

Norman explains that ‘smart growth’ seeks to balance protecting agricultural and open land with meeting the need for affordable housing, even in rural communities that are seeing rapidly rising housing costs around the country.

A new state law will guide development along these principles. “The bill, backed by GrowSmart Maine, defines more clearly what a ‘rural’ or ‘downtown’ area is, makes data collection easier for towns and stresses the importance of community engagement in creating comprehensive plans.”

Monday, April 15, 2024 in Maine Public

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