Lawmakers weigh changes in wildlands zoning agency

Posted April 23, 2009, at 12:40 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Legislators are weighing public input on a range of proposals to abolish or reform the nearly 40-year-old agency that oversees land use in Maine’s North Woods.

A daylong hearing Wednesday before the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee included testimony from northern Maine residents who urged that the Land Use Regulation Commission be made more accountable to the people it regulates.

The Portland Press Herald said critics argued that LURC is more interested in protecting the region as a playground for outsiders than letting property owners use their land to make a living.

State officials and conservationists defended the agency, saying it manages land use of the forests for the benefit of the entire state.