Planning & Zoning - the Real Story
Questions from Monday, 10/27/97
Question: Will residents of existing subdivisions have to comply with the zoning plan whenever they alter their house or add decks, outbuildings, or start a home-based business?
His Answer: Residents in existing subdivisions may alter their house, add decks or outbuildings without any permits or codes. These additions would need to meet the property set-back guidelines for subdivisions. If you are starting a new home-based business in a subdivision then you would need to apply either for a conditional use permit (CUP) or a zoning change depending on the nature of the business you are starting.
My Comment: This depends on whether or not the county complies MRS 64.865, which states that: "no building or other structure shall be erected, constructed, reconstructed, enlarged or altered, or repaired in such a manner as to prolong the life of the building ... without a permit issued by such officer or official." Again, 2C on Page 14 appears to require administrative review for construction within permitted uses. In addition, a limited number of home occupations are permitted by right without CUP (P43, para. 9).
Question: I am presently selling seed corn on my farm. Do I need to get a CUP or zoning change to continue selling this seed corn?
His Answer: No. As long as you live in an agricultural zone or a rural residential zone, you don't have to do anything to continue the seed corn business.
My Comment: Correct. This is an agricultural business; however, if the building used to sell seed corn were to be converted to an antique store, for example, rezoning or CUP would be required.
Question: My neighbor told me that with zoning all ponds must be fenced. Is this true?
His Answer: No. There is nothing in the zoning document that says ponds must be fenced.
My Comment: Correct. However, all swimming pools must be fenced unless they are above ground with 3 foot sidewalls and gates at all entrances (P 40, para 2D).
Question: What is the difference between an agricultural zone and a rural residential zone?
His Answer: An agricultural zone is all unplatted or unsubdivided lots of 20 acres or more used for general agricultural purposes. Rural residential is platted or unplatted lots of at least three acres or more and less than 20 acres without an interior road system for single family residential uses.
My Comments: Correct. However, if a rural residential owner wished to build a second house for a an adult son or daughter, the lot would either have to be subdivided (if there was enough land and the lot shape restrictions could be met) or platted and rezoned to R-1 or R-2 (pages 17 & 18, and definitions, page 13); note that the amount of land required in R-2 differs between pages 13 & 18.