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Gulf of Maine Times

Vol. 3, No. 1

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Gulf of Maine Times

Spring 1999 - Volume 3, Number 1

Sprawl in the Gulf
Development taxing coastal resources

By Suzy Fried

Gulf of Maine ---- In many areas of the Gulf, the spidery spread of sprawl is causing problems from increasing taxes to loss of coastal habitat.

Defined as the unmanaged, unsustainable expansion of development from community centers into outlying areas, sprawl fragments the landscape, limiting future options for land use, while town and city centers with established infrastructures are often left underutilized. In the Gulf's coastal communities, where ecosystem health, community character, quality of life, and economic well-being are intertwined, the environmental repercussions of poorly managed residential and commercial development can be immediate, such as loss of valuable wildlife habitat ---- or gradual, such as the pollution of coastal waters. Throughout the Gulf, regulators, communities, nongovernmental organizations, developers, and regional planning groups are seeking ways to put some constraints on unmanaged development and its environmental and economic effects.