Prospective Zoning in Washington County UTs and Plantations

Much of the Washington County Unorganized Territories is remote and unsuitable for development. The staff and Planning Committee working on the Community Guided Planning and Zoning effort spent considerable time in the review of criteria to reasonably and justifiably narrow our scope to areas suitable for future development.

The Planning Committee reviewed data on population, permit trends, TIF investments, available infrastructure and proximity to services. They reached consensus in May, 2016 and agreed to:

Conduct prospective zoning in the following 3 tiers of effort:

The first tier will examine entire townships for prospective zoning and includes 4 Townships (Trescott, Edmunds, Marion, Cathance) and 2 Plantations (Baring and Grand Lake Stream).

The 2nd tier will propose prospective zoning in portions of 2 townships (Big Lake, Twp 24).

The 3rd tier includes all of the 1st and 2nd tier townships plus Forest City, Lambert Lake and Brookton where the Rural Business Development zone developed in Aroostook County will be adapted for Washington County. Follow these links for:

Rural Business District Subdistrict Rule Summary (a floating zone — as it applies in Aroostook County)

LUPC Rule Revision of the Aroostook County Rural Business Development Subdistrict (with all changes adopted May 9, 2016 shown in redline text)

New Subdistrict: Recreational Services Business

Recreation is big in Washington County. LUPC staff Stacie Beyer provided a presentation on the existing zoning in the Washington County UT at the May, 2016 meeting. That presentation included an idea that LUPC staff have had for awhile for a potential new subdistrict that could provide useful services near recreational assets that are not currently allowed in the General Development Zone — the zone that covers more than 2/3rds of the land in Washington County.

The Planning Committee agreed that the Washington County CGP&Z process could develop this idea further to support recreation in the UTs and Plantations of Washington County.

Floating Zones

The Rural Business Subdistrict in Aroostook County is a floating zone: a zoning district that delineates conditions that must be met before that zoning district can be approved for an existing piece of land.  Rather than being placed on the zoning map as traditional zones are, however, the floating zone is simply written as an amendment in the zoning ordinance.  Thus, the zone "floats" until a development application is approved, when the zone is then added to the official zoning map. Download this 2 page handout (What is a floating zone?) for a detailed description of prospective zones, adjacency rules and how floating zones could be applied in Washington County.

The Planning Committee is considering use of the floating zone concept for both Rural Business Development and Recreational Services Business Development in Washington County.

The floating zone concept will be described in the 6 Summer — Fall public meetings and refined by the Planning Committee for potential recommendations to the Commissioners and the LUPC.