from Chapter 1000: GUIDELINES FOR MUNICIPAL SHORELAND ZONING ORDINANCES

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12. Non-conformance.

A. Purpose. It is the intent of this Ordinance to promote land use conformities, except that non-conforming conditions that existed before the effective date of this Ordinance shall be allowed to continue, subject to the requirements set forth in this section.

B. General

(1) Transfer of Ownership. Non-conforming structures, lots, and uses may be transferred, and the new owner may continue the non-conforming use or continue to use the non-conforming structure or lot, subject to the provisions of this Ordinance.

(2) Repair and Maintenance. This Ordinance allows, without a permit, the normal upkeep and maintenance of non-conforming uses and structures including repairs or renovations which do not involve expansion of the non-conforming use or structure, and such other changes in a non-conforming use or structure as federal, state, or local building and safety codes may require.

NOTE: See Section 17 for the definitions of non-conforming structures, non-conforming uses and non-conforming lots.

 

C. Non-conforming Structures

(1) Expansions. A non-conforming structure may be added to or expanded after obtaining a permit from the same permitting authority as that for a new structure, if such addition or expansion does not increase the non-conformity of the structure and is in accordance with subparagraphs (a) and (b) below.

[Alternatively, a municipality may, by local ordinance, regulate expansions of non-conforming structures in accordance with Appendix A, Alternative to 30% Expansion Rule Pursuant to Title 38 section 439-A. In adopting the alternative provisions contained in Appendix A, a municipality may choose not to include the "special expansion allowance" provision contained in paragraphs 1-A, 1-B, and 1-C.]

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NOTE: Municipalities that elect to adopt the alternative expansion limitation for nonconforming structures may not retain the 30% expansion limitation.

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(a) After January 1, 1989 if any portion of a structure is less than the required setback from the normal high-water line of a water body or upland edge of a wetland, that portion of the structure shall not be expanded, as measured in floor area or volume, by 30% or more, during the lifetime of the structure.

(b) Construction or enlargement of a foundation beneath the existing structure shall not be considered an expansion of the structure provided:

(i) The structure and new foundation are placed such that the setback requirement is met to the greatest practical extent as determined by the planning board or its designee, basing its decision on the criteria specified in subsection 2 Relocation, below;

(ii) The completed foundation does not extend beyond the exterior dimensions of the structure; and

(iii) The foundation does not cause the structure to be elevated by more than three (3) additional feet.

(2) Relocation. A non-conforming structure may be relocated within the boundaries of the parcel on which the structure is located provided that the site of relocation conforms to all setback requirements to the greatest practical extent as determined by the Planning Board, and provided that the applicant demonstrates that the present subsurface sewage disposal system meets the requirements of State law and the State of Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules (Rules), or that a new system can be installed in compliance with the law and said Rules. In no case shall a structure be relocated in a manner that causes the structure to be more non-conforming.

In determining whether the building relocation meets the setback to the greatest practical extent, the Planning Board shall consider the size of the lot, the slope of the land, the potential for soil erosion, the location of other structures on the property and on adjacent properties, the location of the septic system and other on-site soils suitable for septic systems, and the type and amount of vegetation to be removed to accomplish the relocation.

(3) Reconstruction or Replacement. Any non-conforming structure which is located less than the required setback from the normal high-water line of a water body, tributary stream, or upland edge of a wetland and which is removed, or damaged or destroyed by more than 50% of the market value of the structure before such damage, destruction or removal, may be reconstructed or replaced provided that a permit is obtained within one year of the date of said damage, destruction, or removal, and provided that such reconstruction or replacement is in compliance with the water setback requirement to the greatest practical extent as determined by the Planning Board in accordance with the purposes of this Ordinance. In no case shall a structure be reconstructed or replaced so as to increase its non-conformity.

Any non-conforming structure which is damaged or destroyed by 50% or less of the market value of the structure, excluding normal maintenance and repair, may be reconstructed in place with a permit, from the code enforcement officer.

In determining whether the building reconstruction or replacement meets the water setback to the greatest practical extent the Planning Board shall consider in addition to the criteria in paragraph 2 above, the physical condition and type of foundation present, if any.

(4) Change of Use of a Non-conforming Structure. The use of a non-conforming structure may not be changed to another use unless the Planning Board after receiving a written application determines that the new use will have no greater adverse impact on the water body or wetland, or on the subject or adjacent properties and resources than the existing use.

In determining that no greater adverse impact will occur, the Planning Board shall require written documentation from the applicant, regarding the probable effects on public health and safety, erosion and sedimentation, water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, vegetative cover, visual and actual points of public access to waters, natural beauty, flood plain management, archaeological and historic resources, and commercial fishing and maritime activities, and other functionally water-dependent uses.

D. Non-conforming Uses

(1) Expansions. Expansions of non-conforming uses are prohibited, except that non-conforming residential uses may, after obtaining a permit from the Planning Board, be expanded within existing residential structures or within expansions of such structures as permitted in Section 12(C)(1)(a) above.

(2) Resumption Prohibited. A lot, building or structure in or on which a non-conforming use is discontinued for a period exceeding one year, or which is superseded by a conforming use, may not again be devoted to a non-conforming use except that the Planning Board may, for good cause shown by the applicant, grant up to a one year extension to that time period. This provision shall not apply to the resumption of a use of a residential structure provided that the structure has been used or maintained for residential purposes during the preceding five (5) year period.

(3) Change of Use. An existing non-conforming use may be changed to another non-conforming use provided that the proposed use has no greater adverse impact on the subject and adjacent properties and resources, including water dependent uses in the CFMA district, than the former use, as determined by the Planning Board. The determination of no greater adverse impact shall be made according to criteria listed in Section 12 (C) (4) above.

E. Non-conforming Lots

(1) Non-conforming Lots: A non-conforming lot of record as of the effective date of this Ordinance or amendment thereto may be built upon, without the need for a variance, provided that such lot is in separate ownership and not contiguous with any other lot in the same ownership, and that all provisions of this Ordinance except lot size and frontage can be met. Variances relating to setback or other requirements not involving lot size or frontage shall be obtained by action of the Board of Appeals.

(2) Contiguous Built Lots: If two or more contiguous lots or parcels are in a single or joint ownership of record at the time of adoption of this Ordinance, if all or part of the lots do not meet the dimensional requirements of this Ordinance, and if a principal use or structure exists on each lot, the non-conforming lots may be conveyed separately or together, provided that the State Minimum Lot Size Law and Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules are complied with.

If two or more principal uses or structures existed on a single lot of record on the effective date of this ordinance, each may be sold on a separate lot provided that the above referenced law and rules are complied with. When such lots are divided each lot thus created must be as conforming as possible to the dimensional requirements of this Ordinance.

(3) Contiguous Lots - Vacant or Partially Built: If two or more contiguous lots or parcels are in single or joint ownership of record at the time of or since adoption or amendment of this Ordinance, if any of these lots do not individually meet the dimensional requirements of this Ordinance or subsequent amendments, and if one or more of the lots are vacant or contain no principal structure the lots shall be combined to the extent necessary to meet the dimensional requirements.

This provision shall not apply to 2 or more contiguous lots, at least one of which is non-conforming, owned by the same person or persons on the effective date of this Ordinance and recorded in the registry of deeds if the lot is served by a public sewer or can accommodate a subsurface sewage disposal system in conformance with the State of Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules; and

(a) Each lot contains at least 100 feet of shore frontage and at least 20,000 square feet of lot area; or

(b) Any lots that do not meet the frontage and lot size requirements of subparagraph a. are reconfigured or combined so that each new lot contains at least 100 feet of shore frontage and 20,000 square feet of lot area.