Important Summer News!

LD 2003 Updates & New Legislation

Municipal Payment Program

One-time payments available to all municipalities with zoning for ordinance development and amendments, including reimbursement for work already completed.

Municipalities that have (1) one or more designated growth areas or (2) a public, special district, or other centrally managed water system and a public, special district, or other comparable sewer system shall receive up to $10,000. Those who do not shall receive up to $5,000.

Municipal Payments Informational Session:

Thursday, July 27, 2023, 10 am

Deadline Extension

The State legislature approved LD 1706 which postponed the effective date of LD 2003. The extension will depend on your form of government.

  • If your municipality enacts ordinances by the municipal officers without further action or approval by the voters of the municipality, you have an additional six months (until January 1, 2024) to implement the law.

  • All other municipalities have an additional year, and are required to be consistent by July 1, 2024.

We encourage all municipalities to begin working on their ordinances now if your Planning Boards have not already started the discussion. If your municipality has any questions or requires assistance with ordinance amendments and adoption, please reach out. 

Visit the DECD Website for More Information

Networking for Communications Staff

Are you responsible for communications in your town? Here’s a great opportunity to connect with and learn from others who have that same responsibility in their towns.

SMPDC is hosting a FREE, online “Communications Staff Roundtable” led by our Public Relation consultants, CrossCurrent Communications. This interactive zoom meeting will give you the chance to learn about best practices from experts and share ideas and experiences with colleagues. From there, future zooms will be tailored to the needs of the group, tackling such topics as marketing, media relations, social media, creating effective news releases, and more.

The first zoom will be July 27th at 1:30pm. Email Raegan ( for a meeting invite!

Joint Land Use Study Progresses

SMPDC’s Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) Partnership Program, the collaborative effort between the Town of Kittery, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, continues to make progress towards the implementation goals.

This phase of implementation is expected to wrap up this winter with a draft report incorporating a pilot design for YCCAC transit service aimed at Shipyard commuters between Sanford and Kittery, and a Regional Housing Assessment that will examine inventory and affordability challenges around housing for current and future Shipyard works. A draft housing assessment is expected later this summer, and the consultant team has begun work on a regional Data Dashboard to be housed on the SMPDC website. The dashboard will be used to track trends in housing, transportation and land use data to better understand the challenges facing this area of the region.

Visit the JLUS Website

Additional $3 million for EPA Brownfields

This May, SMPDC was awarded an additional $3 million from the Environmental Protection Agency in supplemental Brownfields Revolving Loan Funding. This funding will allow SMPDC to continue providing revolving loans for the clean up and abatement of hazardous waste, particularly for the redevelopment and revitalization of underused properties. We are honored to have been one of 9 organizations nationally which received the maximum award amount for this round.

The funding will in part go towards the continued construction at The Edge at Berwick site (above right), as well as new projects in the Upper Falls development area (above left) of Biddeford.

Visit the Brownfields Website

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Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program could lower the monthly cost of internet service to as low as $20!

The ACP program provides qualifying low-income households with a $30 benefit to be used toward the cost of monthly internet service. The ACP program also includes a credit for the purchase of a tablet or other internet-ready device for qualifying households. Since the enrollment effort began in the spring, hundreds of additional households within York County have enrolled in the ACP program, with work on this front to continue throughout the summer and into the fall. More information on ACP enrollment can be found at or by contacting the York County Community Action Corporation at 207-944-4096. 

Share this info at Town Hall with a Printable Flyer Available Here!

This work is a component of SMPDC’s Regional Broadband Partners initiative, which is funded via a $250,000 grant to SMPDC from the Maine Connectivity Authority to advance the state’s goal of providing every household in Maine with high-speed internet service.

More Information

SMPDC New Economic Recovery Hub Program

SMPDC is gearing up to launch the Economic Recovery HUB Program this October. SMPDC is one of several agencies statewide selected to carry out this two-year program, which is funded via a $760,000 award from the state Department of Economic and Community Development. Small businesses located in York County, parts of southern Oxford County and the town of Baldwin who opened after January 1, 2020 and experienced losses during the COVID-19 pandemic may qualify to receive direct grants or grant-funded technical assistance through SMPDC and its partners, which include the Small Business Development Center, SCORE, Black Owned Maine, and Heart of Biddeford, among numerous others.

To help mitigate the disproportionate impact of the pandemic, a portion of the technical assistance funds will be set aside specifically to support businesses owned and operated by racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities within the SMPDC service region. Technical assistance options available include free business skills classes such as bookkeeping, and services like social media planning and web design. Further information about the program, including the application process for grants and technical assistance, will be made available on the SMPDC webpage later this summer. 

Legislature passes Mountain Division Rail Trail Proposal

This July, LD404 was signed into law, authorizing MaineDOT to construct a multi-use recreational trail along the Mountain Division Rail line, from Standish to Fryeburg. The new trail will connect to 4 miles of existing trail in Fryeburg, and once completed, will be 40-mile continuous 10'ft wide recreation trail through SMPDC Communities of Baldwin, Hiram, and Brownfield. SMPDC Executive Director, Paul Schumacher, chaired the 12-member Mountain Division Rail Use Advisory Council last year which voted 11-1 to recommend the conversion.

The trail will be a huge asset to this region, bringing recreation, wellness, economic development and tourism opportunity to these rural communities.

SMPDC Annual Report

We will be sending out hard copies to our members soon. Read through for all of the big project highlights from this year, as well as our upcoming work plan and budget.

Read the Annual Report Here

Annual Meeting a Success

The 58th SMPDC Annual Meeting on June 20th was a great success! Thanks to everyone who came out, voted in representation of your community, and celebrated another year with us after a three-year hiatus. Amanda Rector, Maine State Economist, gave a great presentation on changes to Maine's population, and impacts to the economy. Slides are available on our website.

Looking forward to next year!

SMPDC in the News

Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission awarded $3 million from EPA for clean up of brownfields sites - Portland Press Herald

Climate-ready coast in final phase to help Mainers fight climate change - News Center Maine

Kennebunk, Kennebunkport take action to address climate change - Portsmouth Herald

Remember to follow us on social media for more frequent news and updates, or reach out to learn more.

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