CGP&Z in Washington County ~ Frequently Asked Questions

Download a PDF of the following CGP&Z Frequently Asked Questions here.

What is the difference between LURC and LUPC?

What does the LUPC do?

What are Unorganized Territories?

What is the difference between an Unorganized Territory and a Plantation?

With no local government in the UT, who provides services to residents there?

What is Community Guided Planning and Zoning?

What is Prospective Zoning?

What does Adjacency mean when applying for a zone change?

What are the existing land use zones in the Unorganized Territories?

What is the time frame for Community Guided Planning and Zoning in Washington County?

What are the products of Community Guided Planning and Zoning in Washington County?

Will residents and property owners have a greater say in Prospective Zoning in their own UT sub-region?

What are the opportunities for public input in this process?

What is GIS mapping?

What is TIF funding as it relates to the Washington County Unorganized Territories?

 

What is the difference between LURC and LUPC?

LURC – Land Use Regulation Commission - LURC was the statewide land use planning, zoning and permitting authority for Maine’s 10.4 million acres of Unorganized Territory since its inception in 1971.  In 2012, the LURC was reorganized into the LUPC.
 
LUPC – Land Use Planning Commission – is a nine-member board created in 2012 and charged with overseeing land use planning and much of the land use permitting in the unorganized and deorganized areas of Maine, including townships and plantations. These areas either have no local government or have chosen not to administer land use controls at the local level.  The Commission acts much as a planning board would in an organized town.
 

What does the LUPC do?

Among the LUPC’s responsibilities, as set forth in State law, is to encourage appropriate residential, recreational, commercial and industrial land uses; to honor the rights and participation of residents and property owners in the unorganized territories while recognizing the unique value of these lands and waters to the State; to discourage the intermixing of incompatible industrial, commercial, residential and recreational activities; and to encourage well-planned and well-managed multiple uses, including conservation, of land and resources and to encourage and facilitate regional economic viability.
 
Along with carrying out its planning and zoning responsibilities, the LUPC issues permits for smaller development projects, such as home constructions and camp renovations. For larger development projects requiring Department of Environmental Protection review under the Site Location of Development Law, the LUPC certifies that proposed land uses are allowed and that proposed development activities comply with applicable LUPC land use standards. 
 

What are Unorganized Territories?

An unorganized territory (UT) is any territory in Maine that does not have a locally elected municipal government. According to the Maine Department of Audit, there are 34 unorganized territories in Washington County.
 

What is the difference between an Unorganized Territory and a Plantation?

Plantations fall between an organized town and an unorganized township. There are an organized form of government with a Board of Assessors and an Annual Meeting. However they have less authority than organized towns in that they cannot make and adopt local ordinances. Therefore, as in Unorganized Territories land use authority in a Plantation is governed by the LUPC.
 
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With no local government in the UT, who provides services to residents there?

Unorganized Territories are provided municipal services by State and Washington County Government. The Washington County office of Unorganized Territories (207-255-8919) handles municipal affairs for the Unorganized Territories in the county. Municipal services include:
  • Road and bridge maintenance
  • Snow removal
  • Garbage removal
  • Fire protection
  • Ambulance service
  • Animal control services
  • Cemetery upkeep
  • Operation of polling places
  • Shellfish conservation
  • General administration
  • E-911 services
  • Soil and water protection

What is Community Guided Planning and Zoning?

Community Guided Planning and Zoning (CGPZ) is a public process that provides an opportunity for those who live, work, own land, and have other interests in the unorganized or deorganized areas in Maine to evaluate present and future land use needs for their region and work together to develop a strategy to meet these needs. CGPZ projects ensure greater predictability of land use regulation for businesses, property owners, and others with an interest in the use of land and development patterns in the Unorganized Territories (UT).
 
The goal of land use planning in the UT is to encourage the well-managed multiple use and conservation of land and resources, and to encourage and facilitate regional economic viability. Many practical and effective approaches to planning proactively for land use in the UT are possible through CGPZ and could include:
  • Potential rezoning or creation of a new zone,
  • Transportation and infrastructure plans,
  • Industrial growth plans,
  • Recreation plan or an open space strategy,
  • Habitat connectivity strategy,
  • Comprehensive plan for a specific area, or
  • Some other approach or some combination of the above approaches.
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What is Prospective Zoning?

Prospective zoning is a process that allows residents, property owners, businesses and other interested parties in the UT to work together to prospectively identify suitable areas for commercial, residential and/or recreational uses, so that businesses and property owners can propose new uses with greater assurance that the proposal is appropriate for that location. Rather than a “top – down” plan from a State agency, this is an opportunity for a locally-driven redrawing of the map in the UT where co-operative, “bottom–up” solutions can be agreed upon by the participants and documented for LUPC consideration.
 

What does Adjacency mean when applying for a zone change?

Unlike with Prospective Zoning, where the community takes time to designate areas for future growth and development, the vast majority of areas within the UT are zoned as a General Management district. As requests for development are submitted to the LUPC in these areas the Adjacency principle requires such new development to be located in proximity to existing developed areas that are comparable in nature and scale to the proposed new development.  The Planning Commission has generally interpreted Adjacency to mean that most rezoning for development should be no more than one mile by road from existing compatible development (i.e. existing development of a similar scale, type, use, and intensity to that being proposed.) A detailed description of Adjacency provided by LUPC staff is available for download here.

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What are the existing land use zones in the Unorganized Territories?

There are three principal zones: Development, Management, and Protection Each one contains several sub-districts. 
 
The Development zone Sub-Districts include:
  • Commercial Industrial Development (DCI)
  • Extended Settlement Development (D-ES)**
  • General Development (D-GN)
  • Community Center Development (D-GN2)**
  • Rural Settlement Development (D-GN3)**
  • Maritime Development (D-MT)
  • Planned Development (D-PD)
  • Planned Recreation Facility Development (D-PR)
  • Recreation Facility Development (D-RF)
  • Residential Development (D-RS)
  • Community Residential Development (D-RS2)**
  • Residential Recreation Development (D-RS3)**
** applies only in prospectively zoned areas
 
The Management zone Sub-Districts include:
  • General Management (M-GN)
  • Highly Productive Management (M-HP)
  • Natural Character Management (M-NC)
The Protection zone Sub-Districts include:
  • Accessible Lake Protection (P-AL)
  • Aquifer Protection (P-AR)
  • Flood Prone Area Protection (P-FP)
  • Fish and Wildlife Protection (P-FW)
  • Great Pond Protection (P-GP)
  • Semi-Remote Lake Protection (P-GP2)**
  • Mountain Area Protection (P-MA)
  • Resource Plan Protection (P-RP)
  • Recreation Protection (P-RR)
  • Special River Transition Protection (P-RT)
  • Soils and Geology Protection (P-SG)
  • Shoreland Protection (P-SL)
  • Unusual Area Protection (P-UA)
  • Wetland Protection (P-WL)
** applies only in prospectively zoned areas
 
A description of each sub-district and the standards that apply within each on can be found in Chapter 10 Sub-Chapter II Land Use SubDistricts posted here.
 
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What is the time frame for Community Guided Planning and Zoning in Washington County?

The planning process includes three distinct phases: Pre-planning (completed in June, 2015), Land Use Planning (July, 2015 - October, 2016), and Adoption (November, 2016 – February, 2017) & Implementation.
 
The Pre-planning Phase is a required element used to define the process for the entire initiative. The product of Pre-Planning in a Process Document that describes the planning process, reflects time and resources available for the project, and reflects the basic CGPZ principles outlined by the Commission. The Process Document, the Process Committee and summaries of the two Process Steering Committee meetings in May and June of 2015 are all available on the CGP and Z Process web page.
 
The Land Use Planning Phase will take place from September 2015 – late fall of 2016. A schedule of benchmarks is provided below. Actual dates may vary as the process unfolds.
  • July-August 2015: Approval of Process Document by County Commissioners and LUPC
  • August-December: GIS mapping with the University of Maine at Machias;
  • September-October 2015: Community survey and 1st round of community outreach meetings
  • November –February 2015 Sector Research Review: Stormwater and hydrology; Natural resource development and Economic development relative to commercial/industrial location decisions. Draft growth and rural areas to define locations for residential and commercial growth
  • March –April 2016 Intermediate Policy Summary
  • May-June 2016 April 2016 2nd round of Regional Public Meetings –review and refine prospective zoning districts
  • July – August 2016 Mapping, draft documents (plan, CIP, zoning proposals)
  • September November 2016 Review of Plan, Policies, CIP, and draft zoning by County Commissioners
The Adoption and Implementation phase are the final products of the initiative and are anticipated to take place as described below:
  • December 2016 Prospective Zoning change approval by County Commissioners
  • Jan?Feb 2017 Prospective Zoning Proposal review by LUPC and initiation of formal public process

What are the products of Community Guided Planning and Zoning in Washington County?

The highest priority product is a prospective zoning proposal for the Unorganized Territories of Washington County, and to submit and obtain approval of this proposal from the Land Use Planning Commission. This will be supported by, or complemented by the following products:
  • A regional plan for the Unorganized Territories of Washington County;
  • GIS maps for hydrology, infrastructure and services, natural and cultural resources and parcels; and
  • A capital investment plan that identifies cost effective public investments to promote the desired development, and defines a source of funds for those investments that is fair to the taxpayers of both the organized and unorganized areas of Washington County.

Will residents and property owners have a greater say in Prospective Zoning in their own UT sub-region?

Yes. We are planning for a very large area in this initiative. General input will be accepted from all participants, however draft Prospective Maps will be discussed in the Spring of 2016 in a series of geographically targeted public meetings. Input on Prospective Zones in each sub-region from those who live and work in the communities of each sub-region will be given greater weight than input from those from other sub-regions of the UT. For purposes of analysis and public participation, the Washington County UT was broken up into sub-regions, as follows:
 
  • Northern Region
  • Lakes Region
  • Western Region
  • Coastal Region
A map describing these sub-regions is posted on the CGP and Z Process page.

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What are the opportunities for public input in this process?

The CGP&Z planning process will be an open one with plenty of opportunities for public input.
 
A Letter to Residents and Property Owners of the Washington County UT was mailed on September 18, 2015 to 2003 unique addresses in the Maine Revenue Services property tax database. The letter invited residents and property owners to attend any or all of three public meetings held in October 2015 or to provide input by an online survey.
 
As described in the Process Document (posted on the CGP and Z Process page) another round of public meetings will occur in the late Spring and early Summer of 2016. This second round of meetings will provide an opportunity for residents and property owners to see the mapping and sector research; use that information to discuss and propose prospective zoning districts; and refine the zoning tools proposed by Planning Committee over the fall and winter of 2015-2016. The schedule for the second round of public meetings is posted on the CGP and Z Process page.
 
Contact Judy East if you would like to be added to the e-mail list of stakeholders who receive updates as documents and maps are posted to the Community Guided Planning and Zoning web pages.
 

What is GIS mapping?

GIS, or Geographical Information System, is a computer mapping system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of spatial or geographical data. A geographic information system (GIS) lets us visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends. GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries (user-created searches), analyze spatial information, edit data in maps, and present the results of all these operations on one or more maps. This enables people to more easily see, analyze, and understand patterns and relationships. GIS Mapping for CGP&Z is described in detail here. Links to the GIS mapping products will be linked here as maps are completed.
 

What is TIF funding as it relates to the Washington County Unorganized Territories?

TIF stands for Tax Increment Financing, a finance vehicle available to individual municipalities and also to the Washington County Unorganized Territories (WCUT) as a whole. In any TIF district some or all of the taxes generated by new or expanded development are captured for a period of time and commonly used for economic and infrastructure development. The WCUT TIF captures monies generated by the Stetson I and Stetson II wind farms located in the WCUT. TIF funds provide grants and loans to people and organizations who want to create and expand businesses and other opportunities in any of the WCUTs. The Washington County UT TIF includes a nature-based tourism fund, a revolving loan fund, and economic development planning funds and a capital projects fund. The WCUT TIF was established in 2009 and started generating revenue in 2010. TIF-funded projects in the WCUT will be described and mapped as the CGP&Z process unfolds.

For more information, contact Judy East at 454-0465