Shoreland Zoning News

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July 2020

In this Issue:

Response To COVID-19 by Colin Clark

Ordinance and Variance Submissions

DEP Shoreland Zoning staff continue to process Ordinance, Map, and Variance reviews while working remotely. Effective Monday, April 6, 2020, all Ordinance, Map, and Variance reviews filed with the Bureau of Land Resources should be filed by email.  Locally approved and adopted Ordinances and Maps should be attested, signed and scanned as a PDF then emailed to the Shoreland Zoning Staff in your area only if email is not an option can they be mailed in.  Draft Ordinances, draft Maps, and Variance requests should also be emailed for review.

Central Maine Regional Office Colin Clark  207-441-7419

Eastern and Northern Maine Regional Office Dawn Hurd 356-8318

Southern Maine Regional Office Jeffrey Kalinich 615-7044


Our Annual Shoreland Zoning Code Enforcement training sessions have been suspended until such time that they can be conducted in a safe manner. 

Field Visits and Meetings

Acting on recommendations by our Commissioner and the DEP Safety Team, the Shoreland Zoning Unit continues to conduct field work and must always follow prescribed safety protocols while performing site visits. Planning Board Meetings and other Code Enforcement meetings are still being held virtually via Zoom and through other online platforms. In order to minimize the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus, all in person meetings have been suspended until further notice.

Additional DEP information about COVID-19

The following link: will bring you to the DEP webpage outlining the changes to programs, processes and procedures that have become necessary to provide continued service to the regulated community during this uncertain time.

Online Payment Option

In order to facilitate financial transactions in the time of the Coronavirus, DEP recently  launched an online Payment Portal. The new portal can receive credit card payments of $5,000 or less to pay a bill or to pay a fee for an application. Currently it can only be used to process payments associated with some programs, but DEP is fine-tuning and expanding the portal’s functionality. You can access the payment portal at

Boathouses: Boathouses are not conforming structures along our Maine shores by Dawn Hurd


The Mandatory Shoreland Zoning Act, Title 38 M.R.S.A. Sections 435-449, revised in 2013, stipulates that Recreational Boat Storage buildings are not considered to be a functionally water-dependent use.  As boathouses along Maine shores become in need of maintenance or worse, complete removal, the Department would like to reiterate how municipalities are to stay in compliance with the Mandatory Shoreland Zoning Act and the Chapter 1000 Guidelines for Municipal Shoreland Zoning Ordinances.  Boathouses are considered accessory structures and do not meet the setback of the resource on which it is located.  Property owners of a boathouse can perform minor maintenance on the accessory structure in place.  However, if the boathouse is removed by more than 50% of the market value of the structure only it must be moved back to meet the setback of the resource within the district it is located, See Section 12(C)(4) Chapter 1000 Guidelines for Municipal Shoreland Zoning Ordinances.  Secondly, the use of a boathouse is not allowed to be changed to another non-conforming use. Also, expansions on accessory structures are prohibited if located closer to the resource than the primary structure, such as boathouses.  Finally, if the use of a boathouse has been discontinued for more than a year, it may not be again devoted to a non-conforming use, See Section 12 (D)(2) CH. 1000 Guidelines for Municipal Shoreland Zoning Ordinances.

Legislative Update by Jeff Kalinich

The legislature adopted three bills in 2019 with shoreland zone implications that are now in effect.  LD 1320 amended the Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA) and requires the Department to provide a copy of all permits issued or denied under the NRPA to the municipality in which the proposed activity is to occur.  

LD 216 amended Chapter 185, The Regulation of Construction and Improvements, in Title 30-A by requiring purchasers of property on which a subsurface waste water disposal system is located within any shoreland zoned area as described in the Mandatory Shoreland Zoning Act (SLZA) to be inspected by a certified person and if it is found to be malfunctioning the system must be repaired or replaced.  Prior to this amendment inspection and repair were only required in coastal shoreland zones. 

LD 562 amended Chapter 187, Planning and Land Use Regulation, in Title 30-A by increasing the maximum penalty amounts for shoreland zone violations.  LD 562 also amended the SLZA to require municipal ordinances to require permit applicants within the shoreland zone to provide preconstruction and post construction photographs of the shoreline vegetation and development site.  This amendment will aid in determining compliance.  While not in Chapter 1000 yet, the Department would approve ordinance amendments including this requirement since it is in the SLZA.

One CEO to Another by Gordon “Nels” Kramer, Burlington CEO

Before Replanting

As is often the case some of the more blatant, toughest violations have a way of turning a corner if unrelenting pressure is maintained! Just after agreeing to take over the code duties in Burlington, I got a series of phone calls one morning about some tree/vegetation cutting on a lot on Saponac Lake. I went to the site and informed the land owner that he was in violation and all activities must stop immediately. Which he did after a robust exchange!

However, the real challenge was just beginning. At my request the landowner did stabilize the property with silt fencing and hay bales so there was no opportunity for material to be transported into the lake. Developing and implementing a re-vegetation plan was another story! There were numerous back and forth as to just what qualifies as “re-vegetation”, as the landowner equated that term with a couple of shrubs along the driveway and planting grass in the setback area between the drive and water that had ground cover removed. With assistance from DEP Shoreland Zoning Coordinators Office, we did an inspection and put together a suitable plan that addressed the violation and that the landowner could follow. 


However, after many conversations over the course of about 18 months, we were finally able to get the landowner to implement the action plan after patiently discussing with the landowner why this is important for the water quality of the lake, and then reminding him of the Consent Agreement that specified that he follow the plan developed and get something in the ground and growing, or the standard $100 / day fine kicks in. It took what seemed like an eternity, and while all parties involved had their patience challenged, a suitable resolution has been achieved and the site was planted to address the developed and agreed to plan. However, we will need to implement regular compliance inspections to be certain that the plantings are successful and are maintained for the benefit of the resource.  

The New Guy: Jeff Kalinich

Jeff Kalinich

As many of you know I joined the Shoreland Zoning Unit as the Southern Maine Regional Coordinator in May of 2019.  I have been working for the Department going on 20 years.  Prior to becoming the regional coordinator, I worked in the Field Services and Enforcement Unit in Southern Maine for 14 years.  During this time, I worked closely with the shoreland zoning unit.  The best part of the job has been working with Towns to conserve Maine’s lakes, streams and wetlands for our kids.  On my days off I enjoy fishing, boating, hiking and hanging out at camp.