Recreational Lodging Industry Supported

December 30, 2013

For more information, contact: John Bott at 207-287-3156

Changes promote small business and outdoor recreation

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) has announced rule revisions that will enhance and expand recreational lodging opportunities in Maine’s vast unorganized territories. The revised rules provide those in the recreational lodging industry greater flexibility, with the goal of allowing them to deliver the services customers demand and better compete in the marketplace, while protecting natural resources.

The Commission worked with stakeholder groups to respond to changes in the marketplace, consumer demand and the need to ensure that the unique natural characteristics of the unorganized areas will be there for future generations. “These rule revisions are an example of how Maine state government supports job growth in our natural resource economy in a responsible way," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "This initiative allows operators flexibility in deciding how best to operate their recreational lodging businesses. It will also create more jobs, where they’re very much needed, in rural areas of the State."

Commissioner Walt Whitcomb stressed the importance of customer service and his Department’s commitment to job growth. “This initiative is one of the ways that state government is now being responsive to the needs of job creators. These rule revisions are the product of a thoughtful, collaborative process that recognizes trends in the recreational lodging industry and addresses them without sacrificing the natural characteristics we are there to enjoy,” said Whitcomb. “The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry will continue to pursue opportunities so that Maine can prosper and realize its full natural resource potential.”

RULE REVISIONS:

Over the past two years Maine Land Use Planning Commission ("Commission") has been working with stakeholders to understand changing market demands for recreational lodging services and identify ways in which the regulatory structure can be improved to encourage well-sited recreation businesses. Based on stakeholder feedback, ideas, and concerns the Commission recently adopted a comprehensive revision of its rules in a number of ways that address a majority of the known issues regarding recreational lodging.

This initiative evolved from a recognition that the Land Use Planning Commission’s regulations affecting sporting camps, rental cabins, and recreational lodging facilities more generally were in need of updating. For example, the square footage limitation on sporting camps, which at one time was developed in conjunction with sporting camp owners, no longer was large enough to allow these facilities to provide the types of amenities needed to compete in today’s market place. Instead of a group of guys heading to a sporting camp and all bunking together, families and husbands and wives want to visit these facilities but not necessarily all bunk together.

RESOURCES & DESCRIPTIONS:

Detailed information on the rule revisions is available at:

http://www.maine.gov/dacf/lupc/projects/recreationallodging/recreationallodging.shtml

WHAT NEXT?

LUPC staff are now working to implement the new rules so that facility owners and operators can take advantage of the greater flexibility and benefits that they provide. Staff will be reaching out to facility owners in the coming months in order to offer assistance and identify aspects of importance to recreational lodging businesses. During this transition phase, staff will also be revising application forms and undertaking staff initiated rezonings.

For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, go to: http://www.maine.gov/acf