from Chapter 1000: GUIDELINES FOR MUNICIPAL SHORELAND ZONING ORDINANCES

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16. Administration

A. Administering Bodies and Agents

(1) Code Enforcement Officer. A Code Enforcement Officer shall be appointed or reappointed annually by July 1st.

(2) Board of Appeals. A Board of Appeals shall be created in accordance with the provisions of Title 30-A Section 2691.

(3) Planning Board. A Planning Board shall be created in accordance with the provisions of State law.

B. Permits Required. After the effective date of this Ordinance no person shall, without first obtaining a permit, engage in any activity or use of land or structure requiring a permit in the district in which such activity or use would occur; or expand, change, or replace an existing use or structure; or renew a discontinued nonconforming use.

A permit is not required for the replacement of an existing road culvert as long as:

(1) The replacement culvert is not more than 25 % longer than the culvert being replaced;

(2) The replacement culvert is not longer than 75 feet; and

(3) Adequate erosion control measures are taken to prevent sedimentation of the water, and the crossing does not block fish passage in the water course.

C. Permit Application

(1) Every applicant for a permit shall submit a written application, including a scaled site plan, on a form provided by the municipality, to the appropriate official as indicated in Section 14.

(2) All applications shall be signed by the owner or owners of the property or other person authorizing the work, certifying that the information in the application is complete and correct. If the person signing the application is not the owner or lessee of the property then that person shall submit a letter of authorization from the owner or lessee.

(3) All applications shall be dated, and the Code Enforcement Officer or Planning Board, as appropriate, shall note upon each application the date and time of its receipt.

(4) If the property is not served by a public sewer, a valid plumbing permit or a completed application for a plumbing permit, including the site evaluation approved by the Plumbing Inspector, shall be submitted whenever the nature of the proposed structure would require the installation of a subsurface sewage disposal system.

D. Procedure for Administering Permits. Within 35 days of the date of receiving written application, the Planning board or Code Enforcement Officer, as indicated in Section 14, shall notify the applicant in writing either that the application is a complete application, or, if the application is incomplete, that specified additional material is needed to make the application complete. The Planning Board or the Code Enforcement Officer, as appropriate shall approve, approve with conditions, or deny all permit applications in writing within 35 days of receiving a completed application. However, if the Planning board has a waiting list of applications, a decision on the application shall occur within 35 days after the first available date on the Planning Board's agenda following receipt of the completed application, or within 35 days of the public hearing, if the proposed use or structure is found to be in conformance with the purposes and provisions of this Ordinance.

The applicant shall have the burden of proving that the proposed land use activity is in conformity with the purposes and provisions of this Ordinance.

After the submission of a complete application to the Planning Board, the Board shall approve an application or approve it with conditions if it makes a positive finding based on the information presented that the proposed use:

(1) Will maintain safe and healthful conditions;

(2) Will not result in water pollution, erosion, or sedimentation to surface waters;

(3) Will adequately provide for the disposal of all wastewater;

(4) Will not have an adverse impact on spawning grounds, fish, aquatic life, bird or other wildlife habitat;

(5) Will conserve shore cover and visual, as well as actual, points of access to inland and coastal waters;

(6) Will protect archaeological and historic resources as designated in the comprehensive plan;

(7) Will not adversely affect existing commercial fishing or maritime activities in a Commercial Fisheries/Maritime Activities district;

(8) Will avoid problems associated with flood plain development and use; and

(9) Is in conformance with the provisions of Section 15, Land Use Standards.

If a permit is either denied or approved with conditions, the reasons as well as conditions shall be stated in writing. No approval shall be granted for an application involving a structure if the structure would be located in an unapproved subdivision or would violate any other local ordinance or regulation or any State law which the municipality is responsible for enforcing.

E. Special Exceptions. In addition to the criteria specified in Section 16.D. above, the Planning Board may approve a permit for a single family residential structure in a Resource Protection District provided that the applicant demonstrates that all of the following conditions are met:

(1) There is no location on the property, other than a location within the Resource Protection District, where the structure can be built.

(2) The lot on which the structure is proposed is undeveloped and was established and recorded in the registry of deeds of the county in which the lot is located before the adoption of the Resource Protection District.

(3) The proposed location of all buildings, sewage disposal systems and other improvements are:

(a) Located on natural ground slopes of less than 20%; and

(b) Located outside the floodway of the 100-year floodplain along rivers and artificially formed great ponds along rivers and outside the velocity zone in areas subject to tides, based on detailed flood insurance studies and as delineated on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Flood Boundary and Floodway Maps and Flood Insurance Rate Maps; all buildings, including basements, are elevated at least one foot above the 100-year floodplain elevation; and the development is otherwise in compliance with any applicable municipal floodplain ordinance.

If the floodway is not shown on the Federal Emergency Management Agency Maps, it is deemed to be 1/2 the width of the 100-year floodplain.

(4) The total ground-floor area of all principal and accessory structures is limited to a maximum of 1,500 square feet.

(5) All structures, except functionally water-dependent structures, are set back from the normal high-water line or upland edge of a wetland to the greatest practical extent, but not less than 75 feet. In determining the greatest practical extent, the planning board shall consider the depth of the lot, the slope of the land, the potential for soil erosion, the type and amount of vegetation to be removed, the proposed building site's elevation in regard to the floodplain, and its proximity to moderate-value and high-value wetlands.

F. Expiration of Permit. Following the issuance of a permit, if no substantial start is made in construction or in the use of the property within one year of the date of the permit, the permit shall lapse and become void.

G. Installation of Public Utility Service. A public utility, water district, sanitary district or any utility company of any kind may not install services to any new structure located in the shoreland zone unless written authorization attesting to the validity and currency of all local permits required under this or any previous Ordinance, has been issued by the appropriate municipal officials or other written arrangements have been made between the municipal officials and the utility.

H. Appeals

(1) Powers and Duties of the Board of Appeals. The Board of Appeals shall have the following powers:

(a) Administrative Appeals: To hear and decide appeals where it is alleged that there is an error in any order, requirement, decision, or determination made by, or failure to act by, the Code Enforcement Officer or Planning Board in the administration of this Ordinance.

(b) Variance Appeals: To authorize variances upon appeal, within the limitations set forth in this Ordinance.

(2) Variance Appeals. Variances may be permitted only under the following conditions:

(a) Variances may be granted only from dimensional requirements including but not limited to, lot width, structure height, percent of lot coverage, and setback requirements.

(b) Variances shall not be granted for establishment of any uses otherwise prohibited by this Ordinance.

(c) The Board shall not grant a variance unless it finds that:

(i) The proposed structure or use would meet the provisions of Section 15 except for the specific provision which has created the non-conformity and from which relief is sought; and

(ii) The strict application of the terms of this Ordinance would result in undue hardship. The term "undue hardship" shall mean:

a. That the land in question cannot yield a reasonable return unless a variance is granted;

b. That the need for a variance is due to the unique circumstances of the property and not to the general conditions in the neighborhood;

c. That the granting of a variance will not alter the essential character of the locality; and

d. That the hardship is not the result of action taken by the applicant or a prior owner.

(d) The Board of Appeals may grant a variance to a property owner for the purpose of making that property accessible to a person with a disability who is living on the property. The board shall restrict any variance granted under this subsection solely to the installation of equipment or the construction of structures necessary for access to or egress from the property by the person with the disability. The board may impose conditions on the variance, including limiting the variance to the duration of the disability or to the time that the person with the disability lives on the property. The term "structures necessary for access to or egress from the property" shall include railing, wall or roof systems necessary for the safety or effectiveness of the structure.

(e) The Board of Appeals shall limit any variances granted as strictly as possible in order to insure conformance with the purposes and provisions of this Ordinance to the greatest extent possible, and in doing so may impose such conditions to a variance as it deems necessary. The party receiving the variance shall comply with any conditions imposed.

(f) A copy of all variances granted by the Board of Appeals shall be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection within fourteen (14) days of the decision.

(3) Appeal Procedure

(a) Making an Appeal

(i) An administrative or variance appeal may be taken to the Board of Appeals by an aggrieved party from any decision of the Code Enforcement Officer or the Planning Board. Such appeal shall be taken within thirty (30) days of the date of the decision appealed from, and not otherwise, except that the Board, upon a showing of good cause, may waive the thirty (30) day requirement.

(ii) Such appeal shall be made by filing with the Board of Appeals a written notice of appeal which includes:

a. A concise written statement indicating what relief is requested and why it should be granted.

b. A sketch drawn to scale showing lot lines, location of existing buildings and structures and other physical features of the lot pertinent to the relief sought.

(iii) Upon being notified of an appeal, the Code Enforcement Officer or Planning Board, as appropriate, shall transmit to the Board of Appeals all of the papers constituting the record of the decision appealed from.

(iv) The Board of Appeals shall hold a public hearing on the appeal within thirty-five (35) days of its receipt of an appeal request.

(b) Decision by Board of Appeals

(i) A majority of the board shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of deciding an appeal. A member who abstains shall not be counted in determining whether a quorum exists.

(ii) The concurring vote of a majority of the members of the Board of Appeals present and voting shall be necessary to reverse an order, requirement, decision, or determination of the Code Enforcement Officer or Planning Board, or to decide in favor of the applicant on any matter on which it is required to decide under this Ordinance, or to affect any variation in the application of this Ordinance from its stated terms. The board may reverse the decision, or failure to act, of the Code Enforcement Officer or Planning Board only upon a finding that the decision, or failure to act, was clearly contrary to specific provisions of this Ordinance.

(iii) The person filing the appeal shall have the burden of proof.

(iv) The Board shall decide all appeals within thirty five (35) days after the close of the hearing, and shall issue a written decision on all appeals.

(v) All decisions shall become a part of the record and shall include a statement of findings and conclusions as well as the reasons or basis therefor, and the appropriate order, relief or denial thereof.

(4) Appeal to Superior Court. Any aggrieved party who participated as a party during the proceedings before the Board of Appeals may take an appeal to Superior Court in accordance with State laws within forty-five (45) days from the date of any decision of the Board of Appeals.

(5) Reconsideration. The Board of Appeals may reconsider any decision within thirty (30) days of its prior decision. The Board may conduct additional hearings and receive additional evidence and testimony.

I. Enforcement

(1) Nuisances. Any violation of this Ordinance shall be deemed to be a nuisance.

(2) Code Enforcement Officer

(a) It shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer to enforce the provisions of this Ordinance. If the Code Enforcement Officer shall find that any provision of this Ordinance is being violated, he or she shall notify in writing the person responsible for such violation, indicating the nature of the violation and ordering the action necessary to correct it, including discontinuance of illegal use of land, buildings or structures, or work being done, removal of illegal buildings or structures, and abatement of nuisance conditions. A copy of such notices shall be submitted to the municipal officers and be maintained as a permanent record.

(b) The Code Enforcement Officer shall conduct on-site inspections to insure compliance with all applicable laws and conditions attached to permit approvals. The Code Enforcement Officer shall also investigate all complaints of alleged violations of this Ordinance.

(c) The Code Enforcement Officer shall keep a complete record of all essential transactions of the office, including applications submitted, permits granted or denied, variances granted or denied, revocation actions, revocation of permits, appeals, court actions, violations investigated, violations found, and fees collected. On a biennial basis, a summary of this record shall be submitted to the Director of the Bureau of Land Quality Control within the Department of Environmental Protection.

(3) Legal Actions. When the above action does not result in the correction or abatement of the violation or nuisance condition, the Municipal Officers, upon notice from the Code Enforcement Officer, are hereby directed to institute any and all actions and proceedings, either legal or equitable, including seeking injunctions of violations and the imposition of fines, that may be appropriate or necessary to enforce the provisions of this Ordinance in the name of the municipality. The municipal officers, or their authorized agent, are hereby authorized to enter into administrative consent agreements for the purpose of eliminating violations of this Ordinance and recovering fines without Court action. Such agreements shall not allow an illegal structure or use to continue unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the illegal structure or use was constructed or conducted as a direct result of erroneous advice given by an authorized municipal official and there is no evidence that the owner acted in bad faith, or unless the removal of the structure or use will result in a threat or hazard to public health and safety or will result in substantial environmental damage.

(4) Fines. Any person, including but not limited to a landowner, a landowner's agent or a contractor, who orders or conducts any activity in violation of this Ordinance shall be penalized in accordance with Title 30-A, Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, Subsection 4452.

NOTE: Current penalties include fines of not less than $100 nor more than $2500 per violation for each day that the violation continues.