We in Maine enjoy being able to see moose and bear, to go camping, fishing, hiking and hunting, especially in remote wilderness areas. A big reason is that Maine’s current and longstanding “adjacency policy” serves the unorganized territories and our state well. Large tracts of the north country have been protected from sprawling development, where we can still “get away from it all,” and where animals needing large wilderness areas can survive.

Thanks to the adjacency policy, when new development locates within a mile of already existing development, we concentrate development rather than let it sprawl haphazardly. We pay less in service costs instead of subsidizing services 10 miles away. We protect Maine’s wildlife, rivers, forests and lakes from the threats of development sprawl. We maintain the community-oriented character of our state rather than allow strip development to cut up our North Woods.

The Land Use Planning Commission now proposes allowing development to go 10 miles from the outer boundaries of “rural hubs” and 2 miles from public roads. Close to 2 million acres of Maine’s North Woods are targeted to become “primary locations” for development.

Large-lot subdivisions that fragment the North Woods, banned since 2001, would be allowed. Economic costs of sprawl are many, and anyone who wants to protect Maine’s natural resources ought to take notice, too. What will happen to the lakes and ponds located within the 10-mile development areas, and outside them, too? Where will wilderness-dependent animals and people go?

This process appears to be pushed by developers or landowners – and rushed with a vote scheduled for November. The 1-mile adjacency rule plays an extremely important role in protecting Maine’s unique character. The public must take seriously the proposal to eliminate it. To submit comments, please email [email protected]; write to Land Use Planning Commission, c/o Ben Godsoe, 18 Elkins Lane, 22 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333; or call 287-2619.

Cloe Chunn

Registered Maine Guide

Waldo