RANGELEY – State land regulators will hold a hearing Tuesday on proposed updated land-use zoning maps that could affect properties in some townships and plantations in Franklin and Oxford counties.

Any zoning changes on these maps are either due to the addition of new wetland zones or the correction of errors, said LURC representative Fred Todd.

The state is proposing additional restrictions on lands in nonforested wetlands down to as small as a one-third of an acre.

Now nonforested wetland zones are established on more than 10 acres of land, he said.

The proposed changes could have a impact on individual townships or plantations ranging from zero to 20 percent of the land areas, Todd said. It depends on how low-lying the areas are, he said.

The public hearing on the updated guidance maps will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Rangeley Inn and Conference Center in Rangeley.

LURC staff will be available from 4 to 5:30 p.m. to answer questions about the draft maps prior to the hearing. All interested persons are invited to attend and offer oral testimony during the public hearing that would have a bearing on this proposal.

The hearing record will be open for a period of 10 days until Friday, Aug. 22, to allow interested persons to file written statements with the commission, and for an additional seven days until Friday, Aug. 29, to allow interested persons to file written rebuttals of statements filed during the previous 10-day period.

The draft zoning maps may be inspected prior to the public hearing at the Commission’s Office in Augusta and at the Commission’s Office in Rangeley. People are asked to call before visiting the latter at 864-5064. Comments may also be sent to [email protected] or faxed to 207-287-7439.

The state’s purpose of the protection subdistrict is to conserve coastal and freshwater wetlands in essentially their natural state because of indispensable biologic, hydrologic and environmental functions. Preserving wetlands will promote the public health and safety of persons and protect property against the hazards of flooding and drought by holding back water during floods and retaining water during dry periods, according to proposed state regulations.

Wetlands also maintain water quality for drinking, store nutrients from upland run-off in plant tissue, serve as settling basins for silt and sediment from upland erosion, stabilize water supply by maintaining the groundwater table and groundwater recharge and discharges areas, and provide plant, fish and wildlife habitat. Wetlands function as integral and irreplaceable parts of a larger natural system, influencing the state’s climate, economy, environment, and natural heritage.

Freshwater wetland protection subdistricts include within 250 feet of a coastal wetland or of the normal highwater mark of any body of standing water greater than 10 acres; containing at least 20,000 square feet in total of the following: aquatic vegetation, emergent marsh vegetation, or open water, unless the wetlands are the result of constructed ponds less than 10 acres in size that are not fed or drained by flowing waters; containing significant wildlife habitat; within 25 feet of a stream channel; scrub shrub and other nonforested freshwater wetlands, constructed ponds less than 10 acres in size that are not fed or drained by flowing waters.

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