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Shoreland Zoning


In the second session of the 127th Maine Legislature, the Maine Municipal Association and Maine Lakes Society will report back on the outcome of their working group which looked at enforcement and compliance of the Shoreland Zoning Law that helps protect lake water quality.The Environment and Natural Resources Committee will consider the group’s recommendation and determine whether it needs to take action. The recommendations include providing more robust code enforcement officer training, requiring photos before and after construction in the shoreland zone and notification prior to cutting trees in the shoreland zone.

Background

The water quality of Maine lakes and ponds exhibits widespread, measurable declines:

1. The clarity of many Maine lakes and ponds declined as much as 20% in the fifteen years between 1995 and 2010, as documented by a University of Maine satellite survey.

2. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has listed 10% of Maine’s great ponds as “at risk,” meaning these valuable resources will become impaired in as little as 20-40 years if land use in their watersheds doesn’t improve.

3. Continued declines would jeopardize Maine’s lake portfolio:

  • $3.5 billion in annual economic activity
  • Drinking water supplies for 50% of Maine residents
  • 52,000 jobs
  • Outstanding recreational opportunities
  • Support for municipal services derived from lakefront property tax revenues
  • The health and well being of people, businesses, and communities dependent upon Maine lakes.