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Zoning changes proposed

By Susan Mustapich | Feb 22, 2021
The Planning Board is working on proposed zoning changes that could go before voters in June.

CAMDEN — A public information session will be held March 4 for a minor change to the coastal residential district and a public hearing will be held to update the zoning map around the wastewater treatment plant property.

The public hearing begins at 5 p.m., with the information session taking place afterward. The meeting is held via Zoom video conferencing and can be viewed on YouTube.

Currently, the wastewater treatment plant is located in two zones. Planning and Development Director Jeremy Martin explained at the Planning Board's January meeting that the two zones have different standards.

The proposal is to change the zoning map so the plant will be located in a single zone, with a single set of standards.  The majority of the treatment plant is located in the downtown business district, and a portion is located in the village district. The proposal seeks to rezone the village district portion to downtown business district.

All of the plant is in the shoreland zone, and those standards will not change, he said. Part of the riverwalk goes through this same area. The zoning map change would allow the walkway to be closer to the river in the area that is now the village district.

Coastal residential district change

Parker Laite Jr. is seeking a proposed change to the coastal residential zone that would allow an addition to be built onto an existing commercial building used for boat construction, maintenance and storage.

The building is located at 216 Belfast Road, and is barely visible from the road.

The existing building can be used for indoor storage, maintenance and construction of boats. The 5,000 square-foot addition would be built onto the back of the building, Laite said.

Planning Board members have been discussing improving zoning ordinances to make them easier to use and understand. Board member Mark Siegenthaler suggested some improvements to streamline a section of the ordinance allowing expansion of existing hotels, motels and commercial buildings.

Board member Matt Siegal suggested adding a size limit in the ordinance for building expansion. He suggested 10,000 square feet as the limit, because this is consistent with the size of indoor Tier 1 and 2 marijuana cultivation facilities, which are allowed in this district by special exception on lots of  at least 1.5 acres.

Siegel asked Laite if boat building and storage is going on now in the existing building.

Laite said it was. A couple of beautiful boats were built there last year and there are a lot of boats stored in the existing building now. The interior is divided into bays, which are rented, he said.

Originally the building was primarily for construction equipment. After Laite left the construction business, he obtained approval of a zoning amendment allowing boat storage in the building. He went back to the Planning Board in 2016, and obtained approval through another zoning amendment for boat construction and maintenance.

Board member Anita Brosius-Scott supports the expansion of the building, saying it is an opportunity for additional jobs. She asked about the color of the building, due to its visibility from Camden Hills State Park.

She asked if this zoning change would affect other buildings in the coastal residential zone.

Martin said throughout the zoning ordinance, certain types of changes are limited to properties built at a certain time, on a certain lot acreage.

The changes to Laite's building will be limited to buildings used for boat construction, maintenance and storage, in existence by 2003, the year his building was built. The zoning change would have no affect on the coastal residential zone around outer Bay View Street, where there are no existing commercial or industrial buildings, Martin said.

The coastal residential zone does not allow construction of new commercial buildings, with the exception of Tier 1 and 2 indoor marijuana cultivation facilities, on properties of a certain size. Marijuana growing facilities are further controlled by Zoning Board of Appeals approval for a special exception.

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