Housing is a critical area of concern in the Midcoast as well as across Maine. MCOG is focused on developing a deeper understanding of the regional housing market in our region as well as assisting and building the capacity of housing trusts in the region, such as Midcoast Regional Housing Trust or the Boothbay Region Housing Trust.
MCOG's Strategic Plan identifies a regional program that addresses the short term and long-term housing shortage in the MCOG region by:
Focusing on the development of public and private partnerships to meet workforce housing need.
Establishing a regional working group to study and advocate for housing in the MCOG region.
Conducting an analysis of housing need across the housing, income and age continuum and provide a regional definition for affordable, workforce, and attainable housing.
Collaborating with area employers to identify employment needs by job type, income, and locational preference, providing an additional understanding of supply needs by housing type.
Identifying and working with communities to address the conflicts between growth and non-growth area borders and the land use barriers that restrict development of workforce and affordable housing in the MCOG region
Identifying funding sources and developing creative mechanisms to assist communities and development partners.
Developing regional and local strategies for the management of accessory and short-term rental units.
Collaborating with appropriate partners to help coordinate regional housing strategies for older adults, unhoused populations, and supportive housing.
Housing questions can be directed to Mathew Eddy, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Housing Opportunity Program
Maine's Housing Opportunity Program is a state-funded initiative designed to create more housing, especially for low- and moderate-income individuals and families. The program offers down payment and closing cost assistance, as well as low-interest rate mortgages and education on homeownership responsibilities. The goal of the program is to make homeownership more accessible and sustainable for Maine residents, particularly in rural areas.
The Housing Opportunity Program:
Provides technical assistance to municipalities to support housing development, including support with municipal ordinance development to comply with LD 2003;
Provides funding to service providers and municipalities to support municipal ordinance development, planning board and public processes in communities to increase housing opportunities;
Provides information to the public about housing development and opportunities; and
Establishes statewide housing production goals.
Find out more information on the State's website here.
Housing Opportunity Program Grants
The Housing Opportunity Program has grant funding available to financially assist service providers and municipalities with municipal ordinance development, community housing planning services, and community housing implementation services.
This grant program recently released rule. DECD will soon solicit applications for grants through the competitive application process.
In the Spring of 2022, the State of Maine passed LD 2003 (An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions). This legislation was passed with the intention to help alleviate the affordable housing crisis in Maine. This legislation was passed to require municipalities to permit additional dwelling units in areas that permit single-family dwelling units, permit Accessory Dwelling Units/ Accessory Apartments, and provide zoning incentives for developers to create Affordable Housing Developments. These new dwelling units were still required to show evidence of sufficient water and septic for all residential uses on a proposed lot.
While the legislation was passed with good intentions, municipalities were given until July 1, 2023 to amend their local ordinances to comply with LD 2003. A copy of the final rulemaking can be found below.
Proposed Rule: 19-100 C.M.R. ch. 5, Housing Opportunity Program: Municipal Land Use and Zoning Ordinance Rule
What does this mean for your community?
The requirements outlined in LD 2003 take effect July 1, 2023. This means your town must to create or amend local ordinances in accordance with the bill by that deadline in order to not be legally liable.
There is a piece of legislation being considered to extend the deadline for Cities until January 1, 2024 while Towns would have until July 1, 2024. During this time, it is strongly recommended that all municipalities work on their Ordinances now that the final rulemaking is out.
We are here to help! Reach out to Max Johnstone on our planning team to discuss how to make sure you your ordinances are in alignment with State law.
Housing Trusts in Maine (coming soon)
Zoning Changes to Make Your Community Housing-Friendly (coming soon)
Accessory Dwelling Units & Guidance (coming soon)