Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives Democrat Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford is leading a new effort to address the state’s affordable housing shortage. Fecteau visited the neighborhoods of Wells, Saco and Brunswick on Wednesday to highlight zoning and land use reforms in his bill before the state legislature. Fecteau said: “There is a lot to be done to improve the conditions that allow the construction of housing. We need community leaders, we need state leaders, to solve these challenges together. “A key proposal would require municipalities to let private landlords build up to four units on their land – such as duplexes, triplexes and secondary suites – and not restrict them to single-family homes. Fecteau said, “If anyone one owns land, they have a primary dwelling, don’t have the city tell them they can’t add a secondary suite above the garage or in their backyard, a smaller unit for a mother or an aging father or a son or daughter who wants to come back but cannot find affordable housing.” Fecteau’s proposal enjoys bipartisan support. “I am proud to co-sponsor this bill, which includes a free market to housing shortages and honors property rights,” said Rep. Amy Arata, a Republican from New Gloucester. “This will allow supply to grow to meet demand without tax dollars. and thus reduce housing costs.” Visiting a neighborhood in Saco with Fecteau, the manager of non-profit housing provider Avesta Housing pointed to Park Village, a pair of 12-unit houses, entirely occupied by elderly people whose rent is capped at 30% of their low income. Accommodations have a 5-year waiting list. “That’s why we’re trying to get more housing, and we need more land to be able to do that,” said Dana Totman, president and CEO of Avesta. “If the zoning doesn’t allow it out of the gate, we’re not going to start evaluating the potential.” In Brunswick, Fecteau toured an affordable housing model he plans to proliferate statewide — a new, 780-square-foot, two-bedroom accessory dwelling that sits across the lawn from the largest house on the lot. . Backyard ADUs founder Chris Lee said the smaller unit cost $200,000 to build and the buyer could get a monthly mortgage of $1,000. lacks an understanding of supply and demand, the rising cost of housing, zoning that was exclusive at best and discriminatory at worst,” Lévesque said. “We have eliminated single-family exclusion zoning rules within our structure that had been there since 1933. We have adopted the most flexible accessory unit housing ordinances in Maine.” Levesque said the city eliminated parking minimums and increased allowable density from four to 16 housing units per acre, resulting in 1,800 new units being built, approved or planned in the past two years. Fecteau said one of the goals of his bill is to quadruple the number of new affordable housing units built in Maine each year from 250 units to 1,000, as well as to ensure that affordable housing developments remain affordable for at least 30 years. “We should revitalize the residential areas that already exist in our state,” Fecteau said. “The bill is intended to help Maine overhaul the red tape that gets in the way of building communities for our neighbors at all income levels safely and affordably housed.”

Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives Democrat Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford is leading a new effort to address the state’s affordable housing shortage.

Fecteau visited the neighborhoods of Wells, Saco and Brunswick on Wednesday to highlight zoning and land use reforms in his bill now before the state legislature.

Fecteau said: “There is a lot to be done to improve the conditions that allow the construction of housing. We need community leaders, we need state leaders, to solve these challenges together.

A key proposal would require municipalities to let private landlords build up to four units on their land — such as duplexes, triplexes and secondary suites — and not limit them to single-family homes.

Fecteau said: “If someone has land, he has a main dwelling, the city must not tell him that he cannot add a secondary dwelling above the garage or in his backyard, a smaller accommodation for an aging mother or father or a son or daughter who wants to move but cannot find affordable housing. »

Fecteau’s proposal enjoys bipartisan support.

“I am proud to co-sponsor this bill, which includes a free market solution to housing shortages and honors property rights,” said Rep. Amy Arata, a Republican from New Gloucester. “This will allow supply to increase to meet demand without taxpayers’ money and thus reduce housing costs.”

Visit of a district of Saco with Fecteau, the boss of the HLM association Avesta housingpointed to Park Village, a pair of 12-unit homes, fully occupied by seniors with rent capped at 30% of their low income.

Accommodations have a 5-year waiting list.

“That’s why we’re busy trying to get more housing, and we need more land to be able to do that,” said Dana Totman, president and CEO of Avesta. “If the zoning doesn’t allow it out of the gate, we’re not going to start evaluating the potential.”

In Brunswick, Fecteau toured an affordable housing model he plans to proliferate statewide – a new, two-bedroom, 780-square-foot secondary suite located across the lawn from the largest house on the lot. .

backyard ADU Founder Chris Lee said the smaller unit cost $200,000 to build and the buyer could get a monthly mortgage of $1,000.

Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque, on location in Brunswick, said his city spurred a building boom by ending outdated zoning rules.

“A zoning devoid of an understanding of supply and demand, of the rising cost of housing, zoning that was exclusive at best and discriminatory at worst,” Lévesque said. “We have eliminated single-family exclusion zoning rules within our structure that have existed since 1933. We have adopted the most flexible secondary suite ordinances in Maine.”

Levesque said the city eliminated parking minimums and increased allowable density from four to 16 housing units per acre, resulting in 1,800 new units being built, approved or planned in the past two years.

Fecteau said one of the goals of his bill is to quadruple the number of new affordable housing units built in Maine each year from 250 units to 1,000, as well as to ensure that affordable housing developments remain affordable for at least less than 30 years old.

“We should revitalize the residential areas that already exist in our state,” Fecteau said. “The bill is intended to help Maine overhaul the red tape that gets in the way of building communities for our neighbors at all income levels safely and affordably housed.”