Maine Mandatory Shoreland Zoning Act Glossary: Key Terms & Definitions for Developers and Consultants

Maine Mandatory Shoreland Zoning Act Key Terms & Definitions

Accessory Structure or Use: A use or structure which is incidental and subordinate to the principal use or structure. Accessory uses, when aggregated, shall not subordinate the principal use of the lot. A deck or similar extension of the principal structure or a garage attached to the principal structure by a roof or a common wall is considered part of the principal structure.

Agriculture: The production, keeping or maintenance for sale or lease of plants or animals, including, but not limited to, forages and sod crops, grains and seed crops, dairy animals and dairy products, poultry and poultry products, livestock, fruits and vegetables and ornamental green-house products. Agriculture does not include forest management and timber harvesting activities.

Basal Area: The area of cross-section of a tree stem at 4 1/2 feet above ground level and inclusive of bark.

Basement: Any portion of a structure with a floor-to-ceiling height of 6 feet or more and having more than 50% of its volume below the existing ground level.

Canopy: The more or less continuous cover formed by tree crowns in a wooded area.

Commercial Use: The use of lands, buildings, or structures, other than a "home occupation," defined below, the intent and result of which activity is the production of income from the buying and selling of goods and/or services, exclusive of rental of residential buildings and/or dwelling units.

DBH (Diameter at Breast Height): The diameter of a standing tree measured 4.5 feet from ground level.

Development: A change in land use involving alteration of the land, water or vegetation, or the addition or alteration of structures or other construction not naturally occurring.

Dimensional Requirements: Numerical standards relating to spatial relationships including but not limited to setback, lot area, shore frontage and height.

Disruption of Shoreline Integrity: The alteration of the physical shape, properties, or condition of a shoreline at any location by timber harvesting and related activities. A shoreline where shoreline integrity has been disrupted is recognized by compacted, scarified and/or rutted soil, an abnormal channel or shoreline cross-section, and in the case of flowing waters, a profile and character altered from natural conditions.

Driveway: A vehicular access-way less than five hundred (500) feet in length serving two single-family dwellings or one two-family dwelling, or less.

Emergency Operations: Operations conducted for the public health, safety or general welfare, such as protection of resources from immediate destruction or loss, law enforcement, and operations to rescue human beings, property and livestock from the threat of destruction or injury.

Essential Services: Gas, electrical or communication facilities; steam, fuel, electric power or water transmission or distribution lines, towers and related equipment; telephone cables or lines, poles and related equipment; gas, oil, water, slurry or other similar pipelines; municipal sewage lines, collection or supply systems; and associated storage tanks. Such systems may include towers, poles, wires, mains, drains, pipes, conduits, cables, fire alarms and police call boxes, traffic signals, hydrants and similar accessories, but shall not include service drops or buildings which are necessary for the furnishing of such services.

Expansion of a Structure: An increase in the footprint or height of a structure, including all extensions such as, but not limited to: attached decks, garages, porches and greenhouses.

Expansion of Use: The addition of one or more months to a use's operating season; or the use of more footprint of a structure or ground area devoted to a particular use.

Footprint: The entire area of ground covered by the structure(s) on a lot, including but not limited to cantilevered or similar overhanging extensions, as well as unenclosed structures, such as patios and decks.

Forest Management Activities: Timber cruising and other forest resource evaluation activities, pesticide or fertilizer application, management planning activities, timber stand improvement, pruning, regeneration of forest stands, and other similar or associated activities, exclusive of timber harvesting and the construction, creation or maintenance of roads.

Forested Wetland: A freshwater wetland dominated by woody vegetation that is six (6) meters tall (approximately twenty (20) feet) or taller.

Foundation: The supporting substructure of a building or other structure, excluding wooden sills and post supports, but including basements, slabs, frostwalls, or other base consisting of concrete, block, brick or similar material.

Freshwater Wetland: Freshwater swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas, other than forested wetlands, which are:

  1. Of ten or more contiguous acres; or of less than 10 contiguous acres and adjacent to a surface water body, excluding any river, stream or brook, such that in a natural state, the combined surface area is in excess of 10 acres; and

  2. Inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and for a duration sufficient to support, and which under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of wetland vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soils.

Freshwater wetlands may contain small stream channels or inclusions of land that do not conform to the criteria of this definition.

Functionally Water-Dependent Uses: Those uses that require, for their primary purpose, location on submerged lands or that require direct access to, or location in, coastal or inland waters and that can not be located away from these waters. The uses include, but are not limited to, commercial and recreational fishing and boating facilities, finfish and shellfish processing, fish-related storage and retail and wholesale fish marketing facilities, waterfront dock and port facilities, shipyards and boat building facilities, marinas, navigation aids, basins and channels, shoreline structures necessary for erosion control purposes, industrial uses dependent upon water-borne transportation or requiring large volumes of cooling or processing water that can not reasonably be located or operated at an inland site, and uses that primarily provide general public access to coastal or inland waters. Recreational boat storage buildings are not considered to be a functionally water-dependent use.

Great Pond: Any inland body of water which in a natural state has a surface area in excess of ten acres, and any inland body of water artificially formed or increased which has a surface area in excess of thirty (30) acres except for the purposes of this Ordinance, where the artificially formed or increased inland body of water is completely surrounded by land held by a single owner.

Great Pond Classified GPA: Any great pond classified GPA, pursuant to 38 M.R.S.A. Article 4-A Section 465-A. This classification includes some, but not all impoundments of rivers that are defined as great ponds.

Ground Cover: Small plants, fallen leaves, needles and twigs, and the partially decayed organic matter of the forest floor.

Height of a Structure: The vertical distance between the mean original (prior to construction) grade at the downhill side of the structure and the highest point of the structure, excluding chimneys, steeples, antennas, and similar appurtenances that have no floor area.

Home Occupation: An occupation or profession which is customarily conducted on or in a residential structure or property and which is 1) clearly incidental to and compatible with the residential use of the property and surrounding residential uses; and 2) which employs no more than two (2) persons other than family members residing in the home.

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A Note to Our Readers: We hope this guide is a valuable resource in helping you better understand the . However, it's not a substitute for professional advice and doesn't cover every scenario. Always consult with regulatory bodies and professionals for the most current advice and project-specific guidance.