LEWISTON — Suburban areas could see greater building density, according to plans being considered by the city’s zoning codes.

The city could do away with the Suburban Residential zoning district, promoting development around two Lewiston elementary schools, McMahon school and the new Geiger school. That zone would be replaced with either of two other zones: Low Density Residential or Neighborhood Conservation District A.

“These are areas ringed with utilities and prime for development,” Planner David Hediger said. “It’s a prime spot for greater density, to create a nice walkable community around a school and local parks.”

The city Planning Board is scheduled to review the proposal and take public comment at its meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

It’s part of a larger zoning code review that staff has been working on since 2007. Last month, the Planning Board hosted a discussion about letting developers divide larger rural lots into smaller parcels as long as they devote larger chunks to open
space. That’s supposed to promote a more rural area in Lewiston’s outskirts.

“This is along a similar track, but putting new development where it belongs,” Hediger said.

Current zoning allows single-family home developments on lots of at least 20,000 square feet if the property is on the city sewer system. If the property uses a septic tank, the minimum lot size is 40,000 square feet.

Hundreds of properties around the two schools don’t conform to those rules. They’ve been built on lots much smaller than 20,000 square feet and approved before the Suburban Residential zoning rules were adopted.

The new zones would allow development on smaller lots. Low Density Residential zoning lets developers build on lots of 10,000 square feet, minimum, with city sewer, or 40,000 without.

The Neighborhood Conservation Zone allows development on 7,500-square-foot lots with city sewer, or 20,000-square-foot lots with septic systems.

“So one part of this would bring some of those nonconforming homes into compliance,” Hediger said. The areas include some large, privately owned lots that will be developed someday.

“It makes sense that these are the areas where we want that growth to occur,” he said.

A review of a new
organizational scheme for the city’s land-use codes is scheduled for
Sept. 14.

[email protected]

Suburban Zoning Standards Discussion

Lewiston Planning Board

  • 5:30 p.m. Aug. 17, Lewiston City Hall

Go the Lewiston Planning Department’s Web site, www.ci.lewiston.me.us/development/zoninglanduseamendments.htm for more information.

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