Shoreland Zoning Ordinance

SHORELAND ZONING ORDINANCE

Section 15. Land Use Standards

All land use activities within the Shoreland Zone shall conform to the following provisions, if applicable.

A. Minimum Lot Standards

  1. Land below the normal high-water line of a water body or upland edge of a wetland and land beneath roads servicing more than two (2) lots shall not be included toward calculating minimum lot area. Also, land with sustained slope in excess of fifty percent (50%) shall not be included toward calculating the lot area.
  2. Lots located on opposite sides of a public or private road shall be considered each a separate tract or parcel of land unless such road was established by the owner of land on both sides thereof after September 22, 1971.
  3. The minimum width of any portion of any lot within one hundred (100) feet, horizontal distance, of the normal high-water line of a water body, stream or upland edge of a wetland shall be equal to or greater than the shore frontage requirement for a lot with the proposed use.
  4. If more than one residential dwelling unit, principal governmental, institutional, commercial or industrial structure or use, or combination thereof, is constructed or established on a single parcel, all dimensional requirements shall be met for each additional dwelling unit, principal structure, or use.
  5. Lots within the Shoreland Zone which are proposed for development using on-site subsurface sewage disposal shall have sufficient areas of suitable soil to accommodate the proposed system and a future replacement system installed in compliance with the State of Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules. The reserve area shall not be developed in any way which would preclude the use of that area for future subsurface sewage disposal.

B. Principal and Accessory Structures

  1. All new principal and accessory structures shall be set back at least one hundred (100) feet, horizontal distance, from the normal high-water line of a water body, streams and upland edge of wetlands, and fifteen (15) feet, horizontal distance, from side and rear lot lines except as provided below. In the Resource Protection District the setback requirement shall be 250 feet, horizontal distance, except for structures, roads, parking spaces or other regulated objects specifically allowed in that district in which case the setback requirements specified above shall apply.
    • a. The normal high-water line setback provision shall not apply to structures that require direct access to the water as an operational necessity, such as piers, docks and retaining walls, nor shall it apply to other water-dependent uses and structures.
    • b. On a non-conforming lot of record on which only a residential structure exists, and it is not possible to place an accessory structure meeting the required water body, tributary stream or wetland setbacks, the code enforcement officer may issue a permit to place a single accessory structure, with no utilities, for the storage of yard tools and similar equipment. Such accessory structure shall not exceed eighty (80) square feet in area nor eight (8) feet in height, and shall be located as far from the shoreline or tributary stream as practical and shall meet all other applicable standards, including lot coverage and vegetation clearing limitations. In no case shall the structure be located closer to the shoreline or tributary stream than the principal structure.
  2. Principal or accessory structures which are permitted in the Resource Protection, Limited Residential and Stream Protection, Districts, shall not exceed thirty (30) feet in height.
  3. Where new structures are proposed in the Shoreland Zone in or adjacent to significant scenic areas as identified in the Comprehensive Plan, such structures shall be located and designed so as to minimize their adverse visual impact on those scenic areas.
  4. The total area of non-vegetated surfaces shall not exceed twenty (20) percent of the lot located in the Shoreland zone. This limitation does not apply to public boat launching facilities regardless of the district in which the facility is located.

    For the purposes of calculating lot coverage, non-vegetated surfaces include, but are not limited to the following: structures, driveways, parking areas, and other areas from which vegetation has been removed. Naturally occurring ledge and rock outcroppings are not counted as nonvegetated surfaces when calculating lot coverage for lots of record on March 24, 1990 and in continuous existence since that date.
  5. The lowest floor elevation or openings of all buildings and structures including basements shall be elevated at least one foot above the elevation of the 100 year flood, the flood of record, or in the absence of these, the flood as defined by soil types identified as recent flood plain soils.
  6. Retaining walls that are not necessary for erosion control shall meet the structure setback requirement, except for low retaining walls and associated fill provided all of the following conditions are met:
    • a. The site has been previously altered and an effective vegetated buffer does not exist;
    • b. The wall(s) is (are) at least 25 feet, horizontal distance, from the normal high-water line of a water body, tributary stream, or upland edge of a wetland;
    • c. The site where the retaining wall will be constructed is legally existing lawn or is a site eroding from lack of naturally occurring vegetation, and which cannot be stabilized with vegetative plantings;
    • d. The total height of the wall(s), in the aggregate, are no more than 24 inches;
    • e. Retaining walls are located outside of the 100-year floodplain on streams and tributary streams, as designated on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps or Flood Hazard Boundary Maps, or the flood of record, or in the absence of these, by soil types identified as recent flood plain soils.
    • f. The area behind the wall is revegetated with grass, shrubs, trees, or a combination thereof, and no further structural development will occur within the setback area, including patios and decks; and
    • g. vegetated buffer area is established within 25 feet, horizontal distance, of the normal high-water line of a water body, tributary stream, or upland edge of a wetland when a natural buffer area does not exist. The buffer area must meet the following characteristics:
      • (i) The buffer must include shrubs and other woody and herbaceous vegetation. Where natural ground cover is lacking the area must be supplemented with leaf or bark mulch;
      • (ii) Vegetation plantings must be in quantities sufficient to retard erosion and provide for effective infiltration of stormwater runoff;
      • (iii) Only native species may be used to establish the buffer area;
      • (iv) A minimum buffer width of 15 feet, horizontal distance, is required, measured perpendicularly to the normal high-water line or upland edge of a wetland;
      • (v) A footpath not to exceed the standards in Section 15(P)(2)(a), may traverse the buffer;
  7. Notwithstanding the requirements stated above, stairways or similar structures may be allowed with a permit from the Planning Board, to provide shoreline access in areas of steep slopes or unsuitable soils provided; that the structure is limited to a maximum of three (3) feet in width; that the structure does not extend below or over the normal high-water line of a water body or upland edge of a wetland; and that the applicant demonstrates that no reasonable access alternative exists on the property.

C. Clustered Housing

Municipal ordinances may allow for clustered housing within the Shoreland Zone provided that cumulatively all dimensional requirements, including frontage and lot area, per dwelling unit are met. When determining whether the dimensional requirements are met, only land area within the Shoreland Zone may be considered. Open space preserved by permanent deed restrictions or other permanent protective measures may be included toward meeting dimensional requirements. The minimum site size for a cluster development in all zones shall be five (5) acres. Clustered housing may be permitted only if the applicant can demonstrate that the proposed use will result in:

  1. The preservation of open space within the Shoreland Zone through permanent deed restrictions;
  2. A pattern of development in harmony with the natural features of the land;
  3. More efficient use of the land using smaller networks of utilities and streets within the Shoreland Zone than would be present if single family residential construction in conformance with this Ordinance were to be proposed;
  4. Reduction in the total area of impervious surfaces.

D. Shoreland Common Areas

Each shoreland common area shall have a minimum of one hundred and fifty (150) feet of shore frontage and one hundred (100) feet of lot depth for each residential dwelling having access to the common area.

E. Home Occupations

Home occupations shall conform to the following:

  1. The use of a residence for a home occupation shall be clearly secondary to the residential use of the property and shall be limited to no more than twenty (20) percent of the floor area of all structures on the property.
  2. No visible evidence of the operation of such home occupation other than one (1) sign, no larger than six (6) square feet in area is permitted.
  3. Not more than two (2) persons other than family members residing in the home shall be employed in home occupations.

F. Piers, Docks, Wharves, Bridges and Other Structures and Uses Extending Over or Below the Normal High Water Line of a Water Body or Within a Wetland, and Shoreline Stabilization

  1. No more than one pier, dock, wharf or similar structure extending or located below the normal high-water line of a water body or within a wetland is allowed on a single lot; except that when a single lot contains at least twice the minimum shore frontage as specified in Section 15.A, a second structure may be allowed and may remain as long as the lot is not further divided.
  2. Access from shore shall be developed on soils appropriate for such use and constructed so as to control erosion.
  3. The location shall not interfere with existing developed or natural beach areas.
  4. The facility shall be located so as to minimize adverse effects on fisheries.
  5. The facility shall be no larger in dimension than necessary to carry on the activity and be consistent with, the surrounding character and uses, of the area. A temporary pier, dock or wharf shall not be wider than six feet for non-commercial uses.
  6. No new structure shall be built on, over or abutting a pier, wharf, dock or other structure extending beyond the normal high-water line of a water body or within a wetland unless the structure requires direct access to the water as an operational necessity.
  7. No existing structures built on, over, or abutting a pier, dock, or wharf or other structure extending beyond the normal high-water line of a water body or within a wetland shall be converted to residential dwelling units in any district.
  8. Structures built on, over or abutting a pier, wharf, dock or other structure extending beyond the normal high-water line of a water body or within a wetland shall not exceed twenty (20) feet in height above the pier, wharf, dock or other structure.
  9. New permanent piers and docks shall not be permitted unless it is clearly demonstrated to the Planning Board that a temporary pier or dock is not feasible, and a permit has been obtained from the Department of Environmental Protection, pursuant to the Natural Resources Protection Act.
    • NOTE: New permanent structures, and expansions thereof, projecting into or over water bodies shall require a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to the Natural Resources Protection Act, Title 38 M.R.S.A., Section 480-C. Permits may also be required from the Army Corps of Engineers if located in navigable waters.
  10. Vegetation may be removed in excess of the standards in Section 15(P) of this ordinance in order to conduct shoreline stabilization of an eroding shoreline, provided that a permit is obtained from the Planning Board. Construction equipment must access the shoreline by barge when feasible as determined by the Planning Board.
    • a. When necessary, the removal of trees and other vegetation to allow for construction equipment access to the stabilization site via land must be limited to no more than 12 feet in width. When the stabilization project is complete the construction equipment accessway must be restored.
    • b. Revegetation must occur in accordance with Section 15(S).
      • NOTE: A permit pursuant to the Natural Resource Protection Act is required from the Department of Environmental Protection for Shoreline Stabilization activities.

G. Campgrounds

Campgrounds shall conform to the minimum requirements imposed under State licensing procedures and the following:

  1. Campgrounds shall contain a minimum five thousand (5,000) square feet of suitable land, not including roads and driveways, for each site. Land supporting wetland vegetation, and land below the normal high-water line of a water body shall not be included in calculating land area per site.
  2. The areas intended for placement of a recreational vehicle, tent or shelter, and utility and service buildings shall be set back a minimum of one hundred (100) feet, horizontal distance, from the normal high-water line of a great pond, other water bodies, tributary streams, or the upland edge of a wetland.
  3. Recreational vehicles or tents shall not be sited at a campground for more than seven (7) months in a year. This provision does not apply to recreational vehicles or similar shelters which are placed in a designated storage area in a campground.

H. Individual Private Campsites

Individual private campsites not associated with campgrounds are permitted provided the following conditions are met:

  1. One campsite per forty thousand (40,000) square feet of lot area within the Shoreland Zone may be permitted unless otherwise prohibited.
  2. When an individual private campsite is proposed on a lot that contains another principal use and/or structure, the lot must contain the minimum lot dimensional requirements for the principal structure and/or use, and the individual private campsite separately.
  3. Campsite placement on any lot, including the area intended for a recreational vehicle or tent platform, shall be set back one hundred (100) feet, horizontal distance, from the normal high-water line of a great pond and one hundred (100) feet, horizontal distance, from the normal high-water line of other water bodies, tributary streams, or the upland edge of a wetland.
  4. Only one recreational vehicle shall be allowed on a campsite. The recreational vehicle shall not be located on any type of a permanent foundation except for a gravel pad, and no structure except a canopy shall be attached to the recreational vehicle.
  5. The clearing of vegetation for the siting of the recreational vehicle, tent or similar shelter in a Resource Protection District shall be prohibited.
  6. A written sewage disposal plan describing the proposed method and location of sewage disposal shall be required for each campsite permitted and shall be approved by the Local Plumbing Inspector. Where disposal is off-site, written authorization from the receiving facility or land owner is required.
  7. When a recreational vehicle, tent or similar shelter is placed on-site for more than one hundred and twenty (120) days per year, all requirements for residential structures shall be met, including the installation of a subsurface sewage disposal system in compliance with the State of Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules unless served by public sewage facilities.

I. Commercial and Industrial Uses

The following new commercial and industrial uses are prohibited within the Shoreland Zone adjacent to great ponds and streams which flow to great ponds:

a. Auto washing facilities
b. Auto or other vehicle service and/or repair operations, including body shops
c. Chemical and bacteriological laboratories
d. Storage of chemicals, including herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers other than amounts normally associated with individual households or farms
e. Commercial painting, wood preserving, and furniture stripping
f. Dry cleaning establishments
g. Electronic circuit assembly
h. Laundromats, unless connected to a sanitary sewer
i. Metal plating, finishing or polishing
j. Petroleum or petroleum product storage and/or sale except storage on same property as use occurs and except for storage and sales associated with marinas
k. Photographic processing
l. Printing

J. Parking Areas

  1. Parking areas shall meet the shoreline setback requirements for structures for the district in which such areas are located. The setback requirement for parking areas serving public boat launching facilities may be reduced to no less than fifty (50) feet from the normal high-water line or upland edge of a wetland if the Planning Board finds that no other reasonable alternative exists further from the shoreline or tributary stream.
  2. Parking areas shall be adequately sized for the proposed use and shall be designed to prevent storm water runoff from flowing directly into a water body, tributary stream or wetland and where feasible, to retain all runoff on-site.
  3. In determining the appropriate size of proposed parking facilities, the following shall apply:
    • a. Typical parking space: Approximately ten (10) feet wide and twenty (20) feet long, except that parking spaces for a vehicle and boat trailer shall be forty (40) feet long.
    • b. Internal travel aisles: Approximately twenty (20) feet wide.

K. Roads and Driveways

The following standards shall apply to the construction of roads and/or driveways and drainage systems, culverts and other related features.

  1. Roads and driveways shall be set back at least one hundred (100) feet, horizontal distance, from the normal high-water of a water body or upland edge of a wetland unless no reasonable alternative exists as determined by the Planning Board. If no other reasonable alternative exists, the Planning Board may reduce the road and/or driveway setback requirement to no less than fifty (50) feet, horizontal distance, upon clear showing by the applicant that appropriate techniques will be used to prevent sedimentation of the water body, tributary stream or wetland. Such techniques may include, but are not limited to, the installation of settling basins, and/or the effective use of additional ditch relief culverts and turnouts placed so as to avoid sedimentation of the water body, tributary stream or wetland.

    On slopes greater than twenty (20) percent the road and/or driveway setback shall be increased by ten feet, horizontal distance, for each five (5) percent increase in slope above twenty (20) percent.

    This paragraph does not apply to approaches to water crossings nor to roads or driveways that provide access to permitted structures, and facilities located nearer to the shoreline or tributary stream due to an operational necessity, excluding temporary docks for recreational uses. Roads and driveways providing access to permitted structures within the setback area shall comply fully with the requirements of this Section except for that portion of the road or driveway necessary for direct access to the structure.
  2. Existing public roads may be expanded within the legal road right-of-way regardless of their setback from a water body, tributary stream or wetland.
  3. New roads and driveways are prohibited in a Resource Protection District except that the Planning Board may grant a permit to construct a road or driveway to provide access to permitted uses within the District. A road or driveway mal also be approved by the Planning Board in a Resource Protection District upon a finding that no reasonable alternative route or location is available outside the District. When a road or driveway is permitted in the Resource Protection District the road and/or driveway shall be setback as far as practicable from the normal high-water line of a water body, tributary stream, or upland edge of a wetland.
  4. Road and driveway banks shall be no steeper than a slope of two (2) horizontal to one (1) vertical, and shall be graded and stabilized in accordance with the provisions for erosion and sedimentation control contained herein.
  5. Road and driveway grades shall be no greater than ten (10) percent except for segments of less than two hundred (200) feet.
  6. In order to prevent road and driveway surface drainage from directly entering water bodies, tributary streams or wetlands, roads and driveways shall be designed, constructed, and maintained to empty onto an unscarified buffer strip at least fifty (50) feet plus two times the average slope, in width between the outflow point of the ditch or culvert and the normal high-water line of a water body, tributary stream, or upland edge of a wetland. Surface drainage which is directed to an unscarified buffer strip shall be diffused or spread out to promote infiltration of the runoff and to minimize channelized flow of the drainage through the buffer strip.
  7. Ditch relief (cross drainage) culverts, drainage dips and water turnouts shall be installed in a manner effective in directing drainage onto unscarified buffer strips before the flow gains sufficient volume or head to erode the road, driveway or ditch. To accomplish this, the following shall apply:
    • a. Ditch relief culverts, drainage dips and associated water turnouts shall be spaced along the road at intervals no greater than indicated in the following table:
  • b. Drainage dips may be used in place of ditch relief culverts only where the grade is ten (10) percent or less.
  • c. On surfaces having slopes greater than ten (10) percent, ditch relief culverts shall be placed at approximately a thirty (30) degree angle downslope from a line perpendicular to the centerline of the road or driveway.
  • d. Ditch relief culverts shall be sufficiently sized and properly installed in order to allow for effective functioning, and their inlet and outlet ends shall be stabilized with appropriate materials.

8. Ditches, culverts, bridges, dips, water turnouts and other storm water runoff control installations associated with roads and driveways shall be maintained on a regular basis to assure effective functioning.

L. Signs

The following provisions shall govern the use of signs in the Resource Protection, Limited Residential and Stream Protection Districts:

  1. Signs relating to goods and services sold on the premises shall be allowed, provided that such signs shall not exceed six (6) square feet in area and shall not exceed two (2) signs per premises. Signs relating to goods or services not sold or rendered on the premises shall be prohibited.
  2. Name signs are allowed, provided such signs shall not exceed two (2) signs per premises.
  3. Residential users may display a single sign not over three (3) square feet in area relating to the sale, rental, or lease of the premises.
  4. Signs relating to trespassing and hunting shall be allowed without restriction as to number provided that no such sign shall exceed two (2) square feet in area.
  5. No sign shall extend higher than twenty (20) feet above ground.
  6. Signs may be illuminated only by shielded, non-flashing lights.
  7. Signs relating to public safety shall be permitted without restriction.

M. Storm Water Runoff

  1. All new construction and development shall be designed to minimize storm water runoff from the site above the natural predevelopment conditions. Where possible, existing natural runoff control features, such as berms, swales, terraces and wooded areas shall be retained in order to reduce runoff and encourage infiltration of stormwaters.
  2. Storm water runoff control systems shall be maintained and kept free of silt, debris, or foreign matter.

N. Septic Waste Disposal

  1. All subsurface sewage disposal systems shall be installed in conformance with the State of Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules and the following: a) clearing or removal of woody vegetation necessary to site a new system and any associated fill extensions, shall not extend closer than seventy-five (75) feet, horizontal distance, from the normal high-water line of a water body or the upland edge of a wetland and b) a holding tank is not allowed for a first-time residential use in the shoreland zone.
    • NOTE: The Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules require new systems, excluding fill extensions, to be constructed no less than one hundred (100) horizontal feet from the normal high-water line of a perennial water body. The minimum setback distance for a new subsurface disposal system may not be reduced by variance.

O. Essential Services

  1. Where feasible, the installation of essential services shall be limited to existing public ways and existing service corridors.
  2. The installation of essential services, other than road-side distribution lines, is not permitted in a Resource Protection or Stream Protection District, except to provide services to a permitted use within said district, or except where the applicant demonstrates that no reasonable alternative exists. Where allowed, such structures and facilities shall be located so as to minimize any adverse impacts on surrounding uses and resources, including visual impacts.
  3. Damaged or destroyed public utility transmission and distribution lines, towers and related equipment may be replaced or reconstructed without a permit.

P. Alteration of Streams, Great Ponds and Wetlands

  1. The following activities require a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection if performed in, on or over any freshwater wetland, great pond, or stream, or adjacent to said natural resources such that material or soil may be washed into them:
    • a. Dredging, bulldozing, removing or displacing soil, sand, vegetation or other materials;
    • b. Draining or otherwise dewatering;
    • c. Filling, including but not limited to adding sand, gravel or loam.

Q. Mineral Exploration and Extraction

Mineral exploration to determine the nature or extent of mineral resources shall be accomplished by hand sampling, test boring, or other methods which create minimal disturbance of less than one hundred (100) square feet of ground surface. A permit from the Planning Board shall be required for mineral exploration, which exceeds the above limitation. All excavations, including test pits and holes shall be immediately capped, refilled or secured by other equally effective measures, so as to restore disturbed areas and to protect the public health and safety.

Mineral extraction may be permitted under the following conditions:

  1. A reclamation plan shall be filed with the Planning Board before a permit is granted.
  2. Mineral extraction within the Shoreland Zone shall not expose more than two (2) surface acres of soil in total at any one point in time. When this limit has been reached, extraction in new areas shall not begin until the formerly excavated area has been reclaimed in accordance with the reclamation plan required herein.
  3. Expansions of gravel pits in existence on the effective date of this Ordinance shall meet the standards contained herein and shall require a permit from the Planning Board. For the purposes of this section, an expansion is defined as an enlargement of the excavated pit perimeter.
  4. Mineral exploration and extraction shall conform to the Erosion and Sedimentation Control and Storm Water Runoff standards contained within this Ordinance.
  5. No part of any extraction operation including drainage and runoff control features shall be permitted within one hundred (100) feet, horizontal distance, of the normal high-water line of a great pond, water bodies, tributary streams, or the upland edge of a wetland or within one hundred (100) feet of any property line, unless such property line borders an existing gravel pit. The property line setback may be reduced with written permission of the owner of such adjacent property. However, in no case shall extraction operations including final grading and reclamation extend to within ten (10) feet of a property line.
  6. Mineral extraction shall be prohibited within two hundred and fifty (250), feet, horizontal distance, of “moderate” or “high” value water fowl and wading bird habitat as rated by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, or any other habitat areas designated by the municipality. [Revised 07.09.10]
  7. Mineral deposits shall not be removed or excavated within two (2) feet of the seasonal high water table.
  8. Within twelve (12) months following the completion of extraction operations at any extraction site, which operations shall be deemed complete when less than one hundred (100) cubic yards of materials are removed in any consecutive twelve (12) month period, ground levels and grades shall be established in accordance with the reclamation plan required herein and the following:
    • a. All debris, stumps, and similar material shall be removed for disposal in an approved location, or shall be buried or covered on site.
    • b. The final graded slope shall be two and one-half to one (2 ½: 1) slope or flatter.
    • c. Top soil or loam shall be retained to cover all disturbed land areas, which shall be reseeded and stabilized with vegetation native to the area. Additional topsoil or loam shall be obtained from off-site sources if necessary to complete the stabilization project.
  9. In keeping with the purposes of this Ordinance, the Planning Board may impose such conditions as are necessary to minimize the adverse impacts associated with mineral extraction operations on surrounding uses and resources.

R. Agriculture

  1. All spreading of manure shall be accomplished in conformance with Manure Utilization Guidelines published by the former Maine Department of Agriculture on November 1, 2001, and the Nutrient Management Law (7 M.R.S.A. sections 4201-4209).
  2. Manure shall not be stockpiled or stored within the Shoreland Zone.
  3. There will be no tilling of soil within one hundred (100) feet, horizontal distance, of the normal high-water line of any great pond and one hundred (100) feet horizontal distance of other water bodies; nor within one hundred (100) feet, horizontal distance of tributary streams, and wetlands.
  4. Industrial and/or septic sludge spreading in all Shoreland Zones shall require a permit from the Planning Board.
  5. Agriculture shall require a Conservation Plan filed with the Planning Board unless the area tilled is less than twenty thousand (20,000) square feet in surface area, except in the Resource Protection District where any amount of tillage shall be prohibited. Non-conformance with the provisions of said plan shall be considered to be a violation of this Ordinance. In addition, animal husbandry associated with farms that produce more than ten (10) animal units annually shall require said plan.
  6. Newly established livestock grazing areas shall not be permitted within one hundred (100) feet, horizontal distance, of the normal high-water line of a great pond classified GPA; within seventy-five (75) feet, horizontal distance, of other water bodies; nor within twenty-five (25) feet, horizontal distance, of tributary streams and freshwater wetlands. Livestock grazing associated with ongoing farm activities, and which are not in conformance with the above setback provisions may continue, provided that such grazing is conducted in accordance with a Conservation Plan that has been filed with the Planning Board.

S. Reserved

T. Clearing or Removal of Vegetation for Activities Other Than Timber Harvesting

  1. Clearing of trees and other vegetation may be allowed for those structures and uses permitted according to Section 14. The clearing of any vegetation in a designated Resource Protection District or its equivalent shall be limited to that which is necessary for uses expressly authorized in that District. However, no cutting of vegetation shall occur within seventy five (75) feet, horizontal distance, of the normal high-water line in any Resource Protection District or its equivalent abutting a great pond, except to remove hazard trees as described in section Q.
  2. Except in areas as described in Paragraph T.1, above, within a strip of land extending one hundred (100) feet, horizontal distance, inland from the normal high-water line of a great pond or within in a strip extending seventy five (75) feet, horizontal distance, from any other water body, tributary stream, or the upland edge of a wetland, a buffer strip of vegetation shall be preserved as follows:
    • a. There shall be no cleared opening greater than 250 square feet in the forest canopy (or other existing woody vegetation if a forested canopy is not present) as measured from the outer limits of the tree or shrub crown. However, a single footpath not to exceed six (6) feet in width as measured between tree trunks and/or shrub stems is allowed for accessing the shoreline provided that a cleared line of sight to the water through the buffer strip is not created.
  3. Where permitted, the clearing of trees and other vegetation within the one hundred (100) foot buffer is limited to the following:
    • a. No cleared openings shall be created, except to locate uses permitted within the buffer strip such as, but not limited to water-dependent facilities, water crossings and public recreation areas.
    • b. Selective cutting of trees in non-cleared areas is allowed provided that a well distributed stand of trees and other natural vegetation is maintained. Selective cutting shall not exceed forty (40) percent of the total volume of trees four (4) inches or more in diameter, measured at four (4) feet above ground level, on any lot in a twenty (20) year period.

      For the purposes of this section, a “well distributed stand of trees” adjacent to a great pond shall be defined as maintaining a rating score of 24 or more in each 25-foot by 50-foot rectangular (1250 square feet) area as determined by the following rating system.

Adjacent to other water bodies, tributary streams, and wetlands, a “well distributed
stand of trees” is defined as maintaining a minimum rating score of 16 per 25-foot by 50-foot rectangular area.

The following shall govern in applying this point system:

  • (i) The 25-foot by 50-foot rectangular plots must be established where the landowner or lessee proposes clearing within the required buffer;
  • (ii) Each successive plot must be adjacent to, but not overlap a previous plot;
  • (iii) Any plot not containing the required points must have no vegetation removed except as otherwise allowed by this Ordinance;
  • (iv) Any plot containing the required points may have vegetation removed down to the minimum points required or as otherwise allowed by is Ordinance;
  • (v) Where conditions permit, no more than 50% of the points on any 25-foot by 50-foot rectangular area may consist of trees greater than 12 inches in diameter.

For the purposes of Section 15.T.3.b “other natural vegetation” is defined as retaining existing vegetation under three (3) feet in height and other ground cover and retaining at least five (5) saplings less than two (2) inches in diameter at four and one half (4 ½) feet above ground level for each 25-foot by 50-foot rectangle area. If five saplings do not exist, no woody stems less than two (2) inches in diameter can be removed until 5 saplings have been recruited into the plot. [Note: Revised 07.09.10]

  • c. In order to protect water quality and wildlife habitat, existing vegetation under four (4) feet in height and ground cover, including leaf litter and the forest duff layer shall not be cut covered, pruned or removed, except as allowed under paragraph 15.T.2 and 2.a, above.
  • d. Pruning of live tree branches not to exceed twelve (12) feet in height above the ground level is permitted provided that at least the top two-thirds of the tree canopy is maintained.
  • In order to maintain a buffer strip of vegetation, when the removal of storm-damaged, dead or hazard trees results in the creation of cleared openings, these openings shall be replanted with native tree species in accordance with Section 15.Q, below, unless existing new tree growth is present.
  • f. In order to maintain the vegetation in the shoreline buffer, clearing or removal of vegetation for allowed activities, including associated construction and related equipment operation, within or outside the shoreline buffer, must comply with the requirements of Section 15.Q.2.
  • Section 15.Q.2 does not apply to those portions of public recreational facilities adjacent to public swimming areas as long as cleared areas are limited to the minimum area necessary.
  1. Outside of the buffer strip, the following provisions shall apply:
    • a. Cleared openings shall not exceed twenty five (25) percent of the lot area or 10,000 square feet, whichever is greater, including land previously cleared. This shall include, but is not limited to, areas designated for principal and accessory structures, driveways, sewage disposal areas, and lawns. This provision applies to the portion of a lot within the shoreland zone, including the buffer area.
  2. Legally existing cleared openings may be maintained. Where such openings exceed the limits defined above, they shall not be enlarged.
  3. Fields and other cleared openings which have reverted to primarily shrubs, trees, or other woody vegetation shall be regulated under the provisions of this section.

U. Hazard Trees, Storm-Damaged Trees, and Dead Tree Removal.

  1. Hazard trees in the shoreland zone may be removed without a permit after consultation with the Code Enforcement Officer if the following requirements are met:
    • a. Within the shoreline buffer, if the removal of a hazard tree results in a cleared opening in the tree canopy greater than two hundred and fifty (250) square feet, replacement with native tree species is required, unless there is new tree growth already present. New tree growth must be as near as practicable to where the hazard tree was removed and be at least two (2) inches in diameter, measured at four and one half (4.5) feet above the ground level. If new growth is not present, then replacement trees shall consist of native species and be at least four (4) feet in height, and be no less than two (2) inches in diameter. Stumps may not be removed.
    • b. Outside of the shoreline buffer, when the removal of hazard trees exceeds forty (40) percent of the volume of trees four (4) inches or more in diameter, measured at four and one half (4.5) feet above ground level in any ten (10) year period, and/or results in cleared openings exceeding twenty-five (25) percent of the lot area within the shoreland zone, or ten thousand (10,000) square feet, whichever is greater, replacement with native tree species is required, unless there is new tree growth already present. New tree growth must be as near as practicable to where the hazard tree was removed and be at least two (2) inches in diameter, measured at four and one half (4.5) feet above the ground level. If new growth is not present, then replacement trees shall consist of native species and be at least two (2) inches in diameter, measured at four and one half (4.5) feet above the ground level.
    • c. The removal of standing dead trees, resulting from natural causes, is permissible without the need for replanting or a permit, as long as the removal does not result in the creation of new lawn areas, or other permanently cleared areas, and stumps are not removed. For the purposes of this provision dead trees are those trees that contain no foliage during the growing season.
    • d. The Code Enforcement Officer may require the property owner to submit an evaluation from a licensed forester or arborist before any hazard tree can be removed within the shoreland zone.
    • e. The Code Enforcement Officer may require more than a one–for-one replacement for hazard trees removed that exceed eight (8) inches in diameter measured at four and one half (4.5) feet above the ground level.
  2. Storm-damaged trees in the shoreland zone may be removed without a permit after consultation with the Code Enforcement Officer if the following requirements are met:
    • a. Within the shoreline buffer, when the removal of storm-damaged trees results in a cleared opening in the tree canopy greater than two hundred and fifty (250) square feet, replanting is not required, but the area shall be required to naturally revegetate, and the following requirements must be met:
      • (i) The area from which a storm-damaged tree is removed does not result in new lawn areas, or other permanently cleared areas;
      • (ii) Stumps from the storm-damaged trees may not be removed;
      • (iii) Limbs damaged from a storm event may be pruned even if they extend beyond the bottom one-third (1/3) of the tree; and
      • (iv) If after one growing season, no natural regeneration or regrowth is present, replanting of native tree seedlings or saplings is required at a density of one seedling per every eighty (80) square feet of lost canopy.
    • b. Outside of the shoreline buffer, if the removal of storm damaged trees exceeds 40% of the volume of trees four (4) inches or more in diameter, measured at four and one half (4.5) feet above the ground level in any ten (10) year period, or results, in the aggregate, in cleared openings exceeding 25% of the lot area within the shoreland zone or ten thousand (10,000) square feet, whichever is greater, and no natural regeneration occurs within one growing season, then native tree seedlings or saplings shall be replanted on a one-for-one basis.

V. Exemptions to Clearing and Vegetation Removal Requirements

The following activities are exempt from the clearing and vegetation removal standards set forth in Section 15.Q, provided that all other applicable requirements of this chapter are complied with, and the removal of vegetation is limited to that which is necessary:

  1. The removal of vegetation that occurs at least once every two (2) years for the maintenance of legally existing areas that do not comply with the vegetation standards in this Ordinance, such as but not limited to cleared openings in the canopy or fields. Such areas shall not be enlarged, except as allowed by this section. If any of these areas, due to lack of removal of vegetation every two (2) years, reverts back to primarily woody vegetation, the requirements of Section 15.Q apply;
  2. The removal of vegetation from the location of allowed structures or allowed uses, when the shoreline setback requirements of section 15(B) are not applicable;
  3. The removal of vegetation from the location of public swimming areas associated with an allowed public recreational facility;
  4. The removal of vegetation associated with allowed agricultural uses, provided best management practices are utilized, and provided all requirements of section 15(N) are complied with;
  5. The removal of non-native invasive vegetation species, provided the following minimum requirements are met:
    • a. If removal of vegetation occurs via wheeled or tracked motorized equipment, the wheeled or tracked motorized equipment is operated and stored at least twenty-five (25) feet, horizontal distance, from the shoreline, except that wheeled or tracked equipment may be operated or stored on existing structural surfaces, such as pavement or gravel;
    • b. Removal of vegetation within twenty-five (25) feet, horizontal distance, from the shoreline occurs via hand tools; and
    • c. If applicable clearing and vegetation removal standards are exceeded due to the removal of non-native invasive species vegetation, the area shall be revegetated with native species to achieve compliance.
  6. The removal of vegetation associated with emergency response activities conducted by the Department, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and their agents.

W. Revegetation Requirements.

When revegetation is required in response to violations of the vegetation standards set forth in Section 15.Q, to address the removal of non- native invasive species of vegetation, or as a mechanism to allow for development that may otherwise not be permissible due to the vegetation standards, including removal of vegetation in conjunction with a shoreline stabilization project, the revegetation must comply with the following requirements.

  1. The property owner must submit a revegetation plan, prepared with and signed by a qualified professional that describes revegetation activities and maintenance. The plan must include a scaled site plan, depicting where vegetation was, or is to be removed, where existing vegetation is to remain, and where vegetation is to be planted, including a list of all vegetation to be planted.
  2. Revegetation must occur along the same segment of shoreline and in the same area where vegetation was removed and at a density comparable to the pre-existing vegetation, except where a shoreline stabilization activity does not allow revegetation to occur in the same area and at a density comparable to the pre-existing vegetation, in which case revegetation must occur along the same segment of shoreline and as close as possible to the area where vegetation was removed:
  3. If part of a permitted activity, revegetation shall occur before the expiration of the permit. If the activity or revegetation is not completed before the expiration of the permit, a new revegetation plan shall be submitted with any renewal or new permit application.
  4. Revegetation activities must meet the following requirements for trees and saplings:
    • a. All trees and saplings removed must be replaced with native noninvasive species;
    • b. Replacement vegetation must at a minimum consist of saplings;
    • c. If more than three (3) trees or saplings are planted, then at least three (3) different species shall be used;
    • d. No one species shall make up 50% or more of the number of trees and saplings planted;
    • e. If revegetation is required for a shoreline stabilization project, and it is not possible to plant trees and saplings in the same area where trees or saplings were removed, then trees or sapling must be planted in a location that effectively reestablishes the screening between the shoreline and structures; and
    • f. A survival rate of at least eighty (80) percent of planted trees or saplings is required for a minimum five (5) years period.
  5. Revegetation activities must meet the following requirements for woody vegetation and other vegetation under three (3) feet in height:
    • a. All woody vegetation and vegetation under three (3) feet in height must be replaced with native noninvasive species of woody vegetation and vegetation under three (3) feet in height as applicable;
    • b. Woody vegetation and vegetation under three (3) feet in height shall be planted in quantities and variety sufficient to prevent erosion and provide for effective infiltration of stormwater;
    • c. If more than three (3) woody vegetation plants are to be planted, then at least three (3) different species shall be planted;
    • d. No one species shall make up 50% or more of the number of planted woody vegetation plants; and
    • e) Survival of planted woody vegetation and vegetation under three feet in height must be sufficient to remain in compliance with the standards contained within this chapter for minimum of five (5) years
  6. Revegetation activities must meet the following requirements for ground vegetation and ground cover:
    • a) All ground vegetation and ground cover removed must be replaced with native herbaceous vegetation, in quantities and variety sufficient to prevent erosion and provide for effective infiltration of stormwater;
    • b. Where necessary due to a lack of sufficient ground cover, an area must be supplemented with a minimum four (4) inch depth of leaf mulch and/or bark mulch to prevent erosion and provide for effective infiltration of stormwater; and
    • c. Survival and functionality of ground vegetation and ground cover must be sufficient to remain in compliance with the standards contained within this chapter for minimum of five (5) years.

W. Erosion and Sedimentation Control

  1. All activities which involve filling, grading, excavation or other similar activities which result in unstabilized soil conditions and which require a permit shall require a written soil erosion and sedimentation control plan. The plan shall be submitted to the permitting authority for approval and shall include, where applicable, provisions for:
    • a. Mulching and revegetation of disturbed soil.
    • b. Temporary runoff control features such as hay bales, silt fencing, or diversion ditches.
    • c. Permanent stabilization structures such as retaining walls or riprap.
  2. In order to create the least potential for erosion, development shall be designed to fit with the topography and soils of the site. Areas of steep slopes where high cuts and fills may be required shall be avoided wherever possible, and natural contours shall be followed as closely as possible.
  3. Erosion and sedimentation control measures shall apply to all aspects of the proposed project involving land disturbance, and shall be in operation during all stages of the activity. The amount of exposed soil at every phase of construction shall be minimized to reduce the potential for erosion.
  4. Any exposed ground area shall be temporarily or permanently stabilized within one (1) week from the time it was last actively worked, by use of riprap, sod, seed, and mulch, or other effective measures. In all cases permanent stabilization shall occur within nine (9) months of the initial date of exposure. In addition:
    • a. Where mulch is used, it shall be applied at a rate of at least one (1) bale per five hundred (500) square feet and shall be maintained until a catch of vegetation is established.
    • b. Anchoring the mulch with netting, peg and twine or other suitable method may be required to maintain the mulch cover.
    • c. Additional measures shall be taken where necessary in order to avoid siltation into the water. Such measures may include the use of staked hay bales and/or silt fences.
  5. Natural and man-made drainage ways and drainage outlets shall be protected from erosion from water flowing through them. Drainage ways shall be designed and constructed in order to carry water from a twenty five (25) year storm or greater, and shall be stabilized with vegetation or lined with riprap.

X. Soils

All land uses shall be located on soils in or upon which the proposed uses or structures can be established or maintained without causing adverse environmental impacts, including severe erosion, mass soil movement, improper drainage, and water pollution, whether during or after construction. Proposed uses requiring subsurface waste disposal, and commercial or industrial development and other similar intensive land uses, shall require a soils report based on an on-site investigation and be prepared by state-certified professionals. Certified persons may include Maine Certified Soil Scientists, Maine Registered Professional Engineers, Maine State Certified Geologists and other persons who have training and experience in the recognition and evaluation of soil properties. The report shall be based upon the analysis of the characteristics of the soil and surrounding land and water areas, maximum ground water elevation, and presence of ledge, drainage conditions, and other pertinent data which the evaluator deems appropriate. The soils report shall include recommendations for a proposed use to counteract soil limitations where they exist.

Y. Water Quality

No activity shall deposit on or into the ground or discharge to the waters of the State any pollutant that, by itself or in combination with other activities or substances will impair designated uses or the water classification of the water body tributary stream or wetland.

Z. Solid Waste

Solid waste may not be disposed of in the Shoreland Zone except as permitted by the State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

AA. Archaeological Sites

Any proposed land use activity involving structural development or soil disturbance on or adjacent to sites listed on, or eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as determined by the permitting authority shall be submitted by the applicant to the Maine Historic Preservation Commission for review and comment, at least twenty (20) days prior to action being taken by the permitting authority. The permitting authority shall consider comments received from the Commission prior to rendering a decision on the application.

NOTE: Municipal officials should contact the Maine Historic Preservation Commission for the listing and location of Historic Places in their community.


Shoreland Zoning Ordinance
Amended March 2017