In 1989 Maine enacted the Comprehensive Planning and Land Use Regulation Act. The Act's legislative findings declared that “ the State has a vital interest in ensuring that a comprehensive system of land-use planning and growth management is established as quickly as possible.” However, whenever the state exercises its police power to regulate private land use, it faces a constitutional limit as to how far it can go. When the land-use restriction exceeds that limit, a regulatory taking occurs. This Comment argues that the Comprehensive Planning and Land Use Regulation Act, as it is being interpreted and implemented by state and local officials across the state, encourages growth management regulation that goes too far. When regulation under the Act is applied too aggressively, it violates the Taking Clause of the Maine Constitution. This argument is based upon the premise that there exists in Maine law a standard for determining when a regulatory taking occurs. The problem, however, is that taking decisions by the Law Court have been fact-specific and seemingly unrelated. All but one of Maine's taking cases have involved an as-applied challenge to the land-use restriction rather than a facial challenge to the statute. Consequently, “the principal focus of the Law Court in ‘taking’ cases has become a factual inquiry” into the unique facts of each case. Because of this ad hoc approach, it is difficult “to develop any ‘set formula’ for determining when ‘justice and fairness' require that economic injuries caused by public action be compensated by the government, rather than remain disproportionately concentrated on a few persons.” This does not mean, however, that one is precluded from deriving a general rule regarding the taking issue in Maine. This Comment will demonstrate that upon comprehensive examination, a coherent test for resolving the taking question emerges from the Maine case law.
Michael A. Duddy,
Taking It Too Far: Growth Management and the Limits to Land-Use Regulation In Maine,
Me. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/mlr/vol44/iss1/14