Testimony by Nick Bennett, NRCM staff scientist
Good afternoon Senator Martin, Representative Koffman, and Members of the Natural Resources Committee:
My Name is Nick Bennett, I am the Staff Scientist for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and I reside in Hallowell. I am testifying in support of LD 340. I discussed this bill with Representative Hill and DEP technical staff, and I believe that it will help towns administer Shoreland Zoning ordinances more effectively. It will do this by explicitly giving towns the authority to require restoration of equivalent size and species of trees, to the extent practicable, in cases where a person cuts in the shoreland zone for purposes of development or to obtain a better view of a waterbody.
This bill does not create any new regulations: it would only apply to people who violate shoreland zoning as it now exists. It will not apply to agriculture or forestry activities; only to development activities. However, once a violation has occurred, it explicitly gives towns the authority they need to remedy a violation on the ground. This makes good environmental sense, because the focus of the bill is on repairing damage to the environment.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue, and I would be happy to take any questions.