Title

Maine's Informed Growth Act, passed in September 2007, requires developers of re

Authors

Jackie Farwell

Source

Mainebiz

Date

4-4-2011

Pages

14-16

Abstract

Maine's Informed Growth Act, passed in September 2007, requires developers of retail stores of 75,000 square feet or more to pay $40,000 to have an economic impact study performed by one of eight state-approved preparers. Opponents of the IGA say that it takes away local control and discourages developments, including Walmart's abandoned plans for a Lewiston store. This has led some to advocate making the IGA optional and allowing municipalities to decide whether or not to activate the law. Supporters of the IGA argue that allowing developers to avoid building in towns that do not implement it would render the law useless. And some believe that retailers support the IGA in order to help keep their competition out of prime market areas. So far the IGA has only been triggered twice, once in Skowhegan in 2009 for a store expansion now underway and more recently for a proposed Walmart in Thomaston. It is difficult to determine if the sharp decrease in large-scale retail development in Maine in 2009 occurred because of the economic downturn or because of impediments created by the IGA.

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