NEW GLOUCESTER — The New Gloucester Planning Board will hold a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the New Gloucester Meeting House to give the public a chance to comment on a draft amendment to the town’s zoning ordinance and maps.

The new document is expected to bring the town into compliance with Maine’s mandatory Shoreland Zoning Act. The shoreland areas include all land within 250 feet of the high-water line of any pond larger than 10 acres, any river that drains at least 25 square miles, and all tidal waters and saltwater marshes. The zone also includes 250 feet of a freshwater wetland larger than 10 acres, except forested wetlands, and 75 feet of a stream.

“The town is out of compliance,” said Amanda Lessard, assistant town planner for New Gloucester. She noted that the newly revised document eliminates the entire Lake District currently under Planning Board review for granting approvals for construction and renovation.

Instead, the town’s code enforcement officer must grant approvals in a newly drafted section of the ordinance called Limited Residential Shoreland District.

In some cases, some changes affect what people can and cannot do with their property. Single-family and two-family dwellings in the LRSD will no longer require site-plan review, but instead are allowed, subject to a permit from the town’s code enforcement officer.

Numerous additions and amendments have been added to the definition section of the ordinance.
The draft ordinance includes a new section 10, which is called the shoreland zone, dealing with nonconforming structures, nonconforming uses and performance standards, principal and accessory structures, piers, docks, wharves, bridges, parking, roads, driveways, signs, septic waste disposal, agriculture and animal husbandry, and timber harvesting, plus the clearing or removal of vegetation for activities other than timber harvesting.

Lessard said the town has chosen to integrate the shoreland zoning requirements into the town-wide zoning ordinance instead of having a separate shoreland ordinance.

The zoning map has been amended, and areas that were previously in the Lake and Resource Protection District that are not required to be part of the LRSD or Resource Protection Districts have been absorbed into abutting districts, in most cases to the Rural Residential District.

The town’s Planning Board has recommended maintaining the Resource Protection District in a 75-foot area around streams.

This is an effort by the town to comply with amendments to Maine’s Shoreland Zoning Law that were adopted in 1990 and have undergone changes, the most recent in 2006.

The proposed amendment can be found on the town’s Web site, www.newgloucester.com.

In order to approve the amendment, selectmen are required to call a town meeting to ask voters to adopt the changes. No date has been set.


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