Updates: Adjacency, OTR, greenhouse gas and CMP line

Graphic from Considerations for Rezoning Near Lakes, Staff Analysis

By Hannah Stevens, Seven Islands

Sarah Medina, Seven Islands land use director, and I attended the October 10 meeting in Caribou where the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) considered revising the proposed rule changes in the Adjacency principle, establishing a new comment deadline, and holding an additional public hearing later this winter.

The potential for rezoning around lakes/ponds: The current “1 mile rule” would be replaced with a policy that limits waterfront subdivisions to primary and secondary locations (in the new adjacency proposal) or on an already developed lake or pond.  Outside of the primary and secondary locations, this would include class 3, 4, or 5 lakes and about 2 percent of the class 7 lakes. (More information

The class 7 lakes would have to meet three criteria in order to be considered (must meet all three):

  • Already developed with at least 5 dwellings near the shoreline;
  • Already developed with at least 1 dwelling per ½ mile of shoreline;
  • Already developed with at least 1 dwelling per 50 acres of lake surface area.  For landowners on class 7 lakes who are interested in subdivision development, opportunities for potential rezoning would be rather limited.

A proposed change to “primary location” definition: Primary location distance from edge of a rural hub has been changed from 10 miles to 7 miles and distance from public road changed from 2 miles to 1 mile. Secondary location remains the same (< 5 miles from a public road, and in a minor civil division that shares a boundary with a retail hub), but some minor civil divisions have asked to be removed from the list, which, in turn, would reduce primary and secondary locations based on those hubs.

Discussion of resource-dependent subdistricts (D-RD): These would allow natural resource extraction and processing facilities. Outside of the primary/secondary districts,  “once a D-RD subdistrict is no longer used for the land use for which it was created, the subdistrict shall automatically revert to the prior subdistrict(s), unless otherwise rezoned in conformance with 12 M.R.S. §685-A(8-A) and the Commission’s rules.”  So, if a business moves out (not just a change of ownership), the zoning reverts unless the same type of business is replacing it.  If it’s a different type of business, a change of use permit as well as a possible change of zoning will be needed.     

Stream Smart crossings: The commissioners wanted to hear about such crossings as they may pertain to subdivision development, etc.  They are wondering whether they should take crossing info into account when permitting.  Forest management roads are under MFS jurisdiction, not LUPC.

Another rulemaking package will be prepared for LUPC’s next meeting, Nov. 14 at 9 a.m. at Jeff’s Catering, 15 Littlefield Way, Brewer.

Other updates:

  • Ozone Transport Region petition: At the end of September, the EPA acknowledged receipt of DEP’s petition to remove portions of Maine from the Ozone Transport Region (OTR ) in a  letter to Gov. LePage. “Please know that we will expeditiously consider Maine’s section l 76(a)(2) petition. The EPA intends to undertake a notice-and-comment rulemaking to address the petition and re-evaluate the inclusion of this portion of Maine in the Ozone Transport Region. The next step will be for EPA to publish the proposal in the Federal Register for at least a 30-day comment (possibly 60 days) period.  EPA would then publish its final decision in the Federal Register.  “Of course, one concern is that a new State Administration could withdraw the petition from EPA,” Dixon Pike, an attorney at Pierce Atwood, wrote in an email this week. “It has not been an issue of the campaigns, but it’s a very real possibility that certain candidates would bend to certain of their constituent groups (i.e., environmental advocacy groups) who oppose the petition.” More information.
  • CMP transmission line/view shed: LUPC and DEP are reviewing the application filed by CMP to build a transmission line in western Maine to deliver 1200 mw of hydropower from Quebec under a contract with Massachusetts utilities that was mandated by the Massachusetts Legislature. Environmental groups and citizens have raised concerns about impacts on “wilderness” scenic views, forest habitats, and tourism. We are monitoring these proceedings as they will set precedent for zoning and permitting development in Maine working forest. The hearings are to be scheduled for later this fall. — Bill Ferdinand.  More informationSee map below.
  • Greenhouse gas petition: The comment period was extended until July 30, 2018,  so the department has until Nov. 30 to review the comments. It’s unlikely there will be any action until after that date. — Jeff Crawford, DEP State Implementation Plan and Clean Air Act, 287-7647. More information.

    Map showing Central Maine Power’s New England Clean Energy Connect transmission proposal to connect Hydro-Quebec power to the New England power grid. Environmental groups and citizens have raised concerns about impacts on “wilderness” scenic views, forest habitats, and tourism.