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100 People Attend Conference on Tools for Managing Growth in N. H. and Maine

Release Date: 06/18/2001
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)

BOSTON - More than 100 planners, citizens, business leaders and government officials today attended the second annual Maine-NH Seacoast Growth Management Workshop in Portsmouth, NH to address issues of smart growth in southern Maine and New Hampshire.

"The future of New England inevitably will include growth – more development and more people," said Ira Leighton, acting regional administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency's New England Office, which helped organize the workshop. "It is our job – the job of federal agencies, state officials and community planners – to plan for this growth in a way that protects the lifestyle and character of our unique New England communities."

Opening speeches were given by David Harrity, state coordinator for the N.H. State Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Carl Dierker, director of the office of regional counsel for EPA New England. The conference was co-sponsored by EPA, HUD and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The workshop's focus on tools for managing the host of challenges and pressures associated with the rapid growth along the Seacoast area of southern Maine and New Hampshire brought together planners, businesses and citizens.

"Luckily, many communities in southern Maine are confronting these issues and updating their comprehensive plans to prepare for continued growth," says Jonathan Lockman, planning director of the Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission. "Nearly a dozen towns in York County are actively creating land use plans to try and control their futures. No one wants southern Maine to become an extension of Boston."

Among the sprawl-related facts:

* The population of New Hampshire, the fastest growing state in the Northeast, doubled between 1950 and 2000, and will triple by 2020. The state is growing at a rate of 15,000 people a year. Most of the growth so far has been in the southeastern Seacoast communities. Planners predict that the southeastern part of the state will lose 60,000 acres of forest land in the next 20 years.

* In Maine, the five southern and coastal counties – York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Lincoln and Knox - gained the most in population between 1990 and 2000. They grew between 5 percent and 14.5 percent each in the 1990s, compared with 3.8 percent for the state during that time. Some towns grew as much as 35 percent.

The conference included workshops on: "Transportation and Growth Management," "Resources for Growth Management;" an "Update on the Rail Extension;" "Neo-Traditional Town Planning" "Planning and Zoning By-Laws" and "Managing Growth Without Shortchanging Housing."