New Gloucester faces zoning changes


NEW GLOUCESTER — Residents raised concerns about proposed changes to the shoreland zoning ordinance at a Planning Board hearing Tuesday night.

The revisions would bring the 198-page document, which was last updated in the early 1990s, into compliance with Maine law.

“My opinion is the staff and board has done well and massaged the document,” said chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Steven Libby, whose mother, Jean, is chairwoman of the Planning Board.

“My problem is I find it more restrictive and takes people’s property,” he told the approximately 40 residents. The zoning maps include six streams in addition to 15 that will be affected by the zoning changes within 75 feet of the water line.

Carleton Wilcox said he was told the maps were made based on data collected by the state for wetlands of significance.

“Nothing was verified in the field,” former Assistant Town Planner Amanda Lessard said.

Peter Hazlett of the Ayer Road, who owns 17 acres zoned farm and forest, said he fears he will lose a building lot from the mapping changes.

“Now my ability to sell a lot may be impacted. I will have to pay the cost of a survey and soil test,” he said.

Major changes include abolishing the Lake District at Sabbathday Lake and creating a limited residential district within 250 feet from the high water mark. But, at workshops throughout the fall, residents said they wanted the boundary to be more restrictive, especially on the Snow Hill Road section of the lake.

Changes also include allowing replacement of well and septic systems according to the Maine Plumbing Code.

Residents questioning the impact of the changes were told to meet with the town planner.

The town attorney and the Department of Environmental Protection have reviewed the document, Jean Libby said.

Voters will decide at the annual town meeting May 3 whether to adopted the revised ordinance.