As stated before, Roger is fantastic writer who has immeasurable knowledge of the battle for our basic rights to own property in the State of Maine. This is his latest piece which will be published in my newspaper column in two parts starting next week. Warning!!! Not for the faint of heart!!!
The Devil is in the Details
The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee met last Thursday, February 23 to mark up LD 1798, the bill which would make LURC bigger stronger and meaner. The bill as written would enshrine LURC and the hated CLUP in place forever.
Remember that the original bill was to abolish LURC. The appointed commission of twelve, with the DEP commissioner as chairman, came back with a recommendation that LURC retain its power until September of 2015. The Ag and Forestry Committee sent the bill upstairs to be engrossed which is supposed to mean it gets adjusted to prevent conflicts with other laws already on the books.
At present, Maine’s governor nominates people to serve as LURC commissioners. Under the new bill, the governor would have the authority to appoint only three of the new nine commissioners. The other members could only be appointed by county officials. It is entirely possible that none of the nine new LURC commissioners would be elected. That is intentional. The committee cut the governor off at the knees and approved an amendment that would allow the governor to appoint only one of the new nine commissioners. That amendment passed unanimously!
LURC would have increased power to zone regional areas. They have always wanted to control nearby areas. LURC calls towns that abut LURC territory “fringe towns”. If passed, LURC would have control over their zoning. What? Your town has no zoning now? Here it comes. Many towns in Maine have no zoning except for DEP shoreline zoning and they do just fine. Our freedom is being taken away. LURC wants the entire state to have regional planning like the system they imposed on Rangeley. Do you have a nice lake in your town? Here comes regional planning.
The commission bill has changed significantly. THE DEP has its fingers in the pie now and it isn’t just a finger in the pie. They are into it up to their elbows because the chairman of the commission was the chairman of the DEP. This has Wildlands Project written all over it. The 2015 date, which would have allowed some slight authority to be granted to the counties, has now gone out to five years from the date of enactment. LURC would require a huge new bureaucracy to even allow a county to seek its independence from LURC. There is the Devil.
Remember that many towns today have no zoning, don’t need zoning and don’t want zoning. Counties should have that same freedom. LURC does not want that to happen. At present, LURC zones towns in the LURC territories. A couple of decades ago the Town of Prentiss de-organized. LURC took over. A retired couple wanted to place a trailer like you see at county fairs at their home and sell hot dogs, hamburgers, chili, coffee and sodas. LURC said they couldn’t run that little business. Why not? The retired couple’s home was not in a commercial zone. Oh? Just where is the commercial zone in Prentiss? LURC replied, “There isn’t one and there isn’t going to be one.”
What if a county actually had a majority of commissioners who valued freedom and wanted their liberty back? You know, the liberty to grant a building permit in a particular place. Here is where the DEP has reared its ugly head. In order to regain the freedom the counties lost on September 23, 1971, they must come and beg. To add insult to injury, the county will have to propose a detailed zoning plan that is more restrictive than the one LURC already has in place. Yes, more restrictive! It cannot ever be less restrictive than the burden citizens bear at the present time. If the county is not more restrictive the application will be rejected. None of this is speculation. It’s all in the bill.
Suppose a county still wants to exercise a tiny bit of authority as a gesture toward the freedom they had before September 23, 1971, the day economic opportunity died in Northern Maine. The county, at its own expense, will have to hire a firm or firms to map the entire county and define all zones proposed. These will not be general areas as LURC acts by whims. The county areas will be required by the DEP to be specific lines on the ground like the lines defining zones for hunting. If the DEP doesn’t like the final product the final product can simply be rejected. The financial cost to a county would be huge. The county would need a comprehensive land use plan, standards for determining the above boundaries, the maps and “other proposed regulations or standards”. It is all a further loss of freedom because it would be illegal to have standards with more freedom than citizens have today. There are the details.
It may be hard to believe. A couple of centuries ago we fought a revolution over what was called “The Intolerable Acts”. Great Britain had passed what they called the “Townshend Acts” named for their author, but here in the colonies they were indeed intolerable. LURC and the DEP have immense power today. LD-1798 would give them far more power and the amendments to give them even more power continue to pile up. I reported the results of the February 23 mark-up session to a few people in Northern Maine. One citizen was visibly angry. It is necessary to paraphrase the language that is unprintable in these pages, but this may suffice: “Do these flippin’ people have any flippin’ idea who they are flippin’ with?” Those are the sentiments of the citizenry in Northern Maine.
LURC and the DEP have an agenda. Their co-conspirators have an agenda. The agenda has a number. It is the number of the century we find ourselves in and the agenda is a trip into darkness. The Devil is indeed in the details. Over the years the co-conspirators have told us all about their agenda, but our citizens were asleep as they lost their freedom piece by piece. It is very important to understand the motivations of the rogue elements in Maine’s own LURC and DEP. They are motivated by the writings of the leaders of their movement.
“We reject the idea of private property.”
Peter Berle, President of the National Audobon Society
“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
Maurice Strong, Head of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro
“‘Protecting the Environment’ is a ruse. The goal is the political and economic subjugation of most men by the few, under the guise of preserving nature.”
J. H. Robbins
“Christianity is our foe. If animal rights is to succeed, we must destroy the Judeo-Christian Religious tradition.”
Peter Singer, the “Father of Animal Rights”
“The collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans.”
Dr. Reed F. Noss, The Wildlands Project
“Cannibalism is a radical but realistic solution to the problem of overpopulation.”
Lyall Watson, The Financial Times, 15 July 1995
“If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”
Prince Phillip, World Wildlife Fund
“Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs.”
John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal
Our only hope is that we have enough clear thinkers in both parties to defeat LD 1798. When LURC was created four decades ago it passed by one vote. There is no greater example in Maine to the power of a single vote.