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Testimony in Opposition to LD 1416, “An Act To Provide Options to Municipalities Concerning the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code”

Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine

in opposition to LD 1416,

“An Act To Provide Options to Municipalities Concerning the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code”

May 6, 2011

 

Senator Thomas, Representative Cotta and members of the Joint Standing Committee on State and Local Government. My name is Nancy Smith and I am the Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine, a statewide non-profit membership-based organization working to grow Maine's economy, protect its distinctive character, and enhance our state's quality places.

As the organization that commissioned “Reinventing Maine Government”, we also seek opportunities to improve the regulatory environment in Maine.

Because this bill would negate the statewide consistency of the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code, LD 1416 would remove one of the most significant accomplishments in bringing predictability and uniformity to business regulation in Maine.

Having served on the Legislative Committee on Business, Research, and Economic Development for eight years, I dealt with this issue several times. In 2003, the Maine Legislature passed LD 1025, An Act to Adopt a Maine Model Building Code. This resulted in an “opt in” provision, in which towns that adopt a building code were required to adopt the model code.

When MUBEC was passed in 2008, it was such an important success that an article authored by myself and Senator Lynn Bromley appeared in the national magazine for retail lumber dealers, Lumber Co-Operator. I have attached a copy here for your information. Please note a key paragraph of that text: “While the (2003) code did not mandate statewide adoption, it did say that if municipalities were going to adopt a code, they should use the model. Despite these efforts, it quickly became clear that municipalities were not adopting the code, and that contractors (and material suppliers) were still burdened by having to slog through a myriad of different code requirements for each municipality where they did business”.

GrowSmart Maine has testified in front of the LCRED committee on other bills related to MUBEC this session, and will continue to work within that process to identify appropriate modifications to this set of codes. However, this bill simply takes us back to the “myriad of different codes” we had in 2003, making it more difficult for building contractors and other professionals do business.

Thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony.