Company admits wrongful foreclosures in Maine

Ocwen Financial Corporation will refund or credit 24 Maine residents more than $50,000 in attorney’s fees they were assessed when their homes were foreclosed upon, and the company will pay $24,000 in civil penalties and $10,000 in investigative costs to the state of Maine, as part of a Consent Agreement signed last week.

Ocwen is a national provider of loan servicing for lenders. It is headquartered in Florida and has offices in several states. In its Consent Agreement with Maine’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection and Attorney General, Ocwen admitted that after July 2014 it pursued foreclosures against Maine homeowners based on paperwork which the state found to be legally defective.

Source: WAGMTV

Mills Vetoes Bill To Limit CMP’s Ability To Seize Private Land 

A bill that would limit Central Maine Power’s ability to seize land for its proposed 145-mile transmission project has failed following a veto by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

The House voted 79-64 to override the governor’s veto, well short of the two-thirds support needed to keep the bill alive.

The proposal would have changed state law that allows utilities to seize private land and bypass municipal governments for infrastructure projects.

Source: Maine Public

New Gloucester residents oppose Sabbathday Lake dock plan

The Planning Board on Tuesday heard from a dozen residents opposed to a 70-foot, T-shaped dock proposed by Sabbathday Lake Shores developer Alan Hamilton of Gray.

To get a sense of what it would look like, a group of lakeside property owners recently delineated the area using styrofoam noodles and other items to create a mock 70-foot dock that stretched from the shore and attached to a 35-foot wide dock sitting perpendicular to it.

When the Planning Board arrived to inspect the site last week, Chairman Don Libby canceled the visit because he wanted “an unbiased” look at the site without the mock-up.

Source:  Lewiston Sun Journal

 Business and Labor Groups Support Of The CMP Transmission Project 

A coalition of business and labor groups has come out in support of a controversial proposed 145-mile transmission line through Western Maine.

The group, calling itself Mainers for Clean Energy Jobs, includes the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, labor unions and the construction firm Cianbro. The group is receiving funding from the Maine Chamber of Commerce. The proposed line would deliver electricity from a Hydro Quebec dam system through Maine to customers in Canada.

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Source: Maine Public

Portland seeks broker to jump-start business park

The sound of vehicles on the Maine Turnpike has yet to be supplanted by the hum of industry at the Portland Technology Park off Rand Road.Yet as the city seeks bids from real estate companies to broker sales for three vacant lots at the site, Economic Development Director Greg Mitchell said the purpose of the park remains unchanged.
“I still believe the original vision should be maintained,” Mitchell said April 20. “We are going to test the waters and see who would be interested and how they might approach marketing differently.
”Bids are scheduled to be opened May 3. City records show five companies have asked for information, including the Dunham Group, which markets the lots now.

Source: The Forecaster

Portland properties may be added to waterfront TIF

Waterfront development plans and the accompanying infrastructure could benefit if two properties are added to a tax increment financing district.On March 5, the City Council is expected to vote on adding the future WEX headquarters at Thames and Hancock streets, and three properties on Union Wharf, 230 Commercial St., to the Waterfront TIF district. The order had a first reading at the Feb. 21 council meeting.

“The added TIF districts would produce an estimated $495,000 annually, over and above the current estimated annual TIF proceeds at $540,000,” according to a Feb. 7 memo by City Economic Development Director Greg Mitchell.Mitchell said Feb. 21 the additions to the TIF zone, created in 2002, do not include credit enhancement agreements that would return any tax revenues to developers.

TIFs allow a municipality to set aside increases in tax revenues for specific uses. Funds captured in the TIF can be used for projects that include pier and wharf improvements, street work and dredging.

Source: The Forecaster

Two Maine Housing Authorities Get More Than $450k To Help Residents

Two housing authorities in Maine will receive more than $450,000 from the federal government to improve opportunities for residents.Republican Sen. Susan Collins says the money is going to the Portland Housing Authority and Lewiston Housing Authority from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency grant program.

Source:  Maine Public

Maine continues record streak of single-family home sales

Maine’s home sales activity continued to set records in 2017 despite flat or declining sales in the hottest markets of York and Cumberland counties. For the third consecutive year, Maine set a statewide record for home sales volume in 2017 with 17,633 existing single-family homes sold, an increase of 0.7 percent from 2016, according to Maine Listings data released Wednesday.

Source: CentralMaine.com