Community Guided Planning and Zoning

Last Updated: April 19, 2016

Aroostook Region

What is Community Guided Planning & Zoning?

Community Guided Planning and Zoning (CGPZ) 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 (U.T.).

The goal of land use planning in the U.T. 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.

How does it work?

Community Guided Planning and Zoning happens in three phases:

  1. Pre-Planning: The first phase is convened by both the LUPC and regional partners and facilitated by a 3rd party. A steering committee made up of regional stakeholders works together to determine the process by which the planning committee will make specific recommendations during the Land Use Planning Phase.
  2. Land Use Planning: The planning committee, made up of regional stakeholders, works together to recommend land use changes that would most effectively support sustainable economic development in their region.
  3. Adoption and Implementation: During the final phase, the governing body of the convening organization adopts planning committee recommendations, and formally submits them to the LUPC for consideration. Approved changes are then implemented by the LUPC.

Ultimately, any product developed through the CGPZ process will require Commission acceptance before being implemented. Throughout the process, LUPC staff will assist regional partners by providing information, feedback, and technical assistance as needed. When the Commission receives maps, plans or recommendations produced by the Steering Committee, it will apply a set of overarching principles in determining whether to approve and act upon the recommendations. The product of the CGPZ effort and the process through which it is developed must:

The product of the CGPZ effort and the process through which it is developed must:

  • Ensure a locally-driven, locally-desired process;
  • Encourage broad participation;
  • Respect property owner equity;
  • Balance regional uniqueness and statewide consistency for stakeholders; and
  • Be consistent with statutory purpose and guiding principles.

Where is it happening?

In October of 2012 the Commission sent a request for letters of interest from potential regional participants and interested parties. The Commission received fifteen letters of interest proposing regions which included all, or parts of each of the eight counties that contain the bulk of the LUPC jurisdiction, except for Penobscot County. The Commission considered each of the submissions at its January 2013 meeting.

On the following pages you can find information about current CGPZ projects in Aroostook County in Northern Maine, and Franklin-Somerset Counties in Western Maine. Each page includes a general description of the CGPZ process, and the region where it is taking place. Also available are specific resources generated by the planning committee such as: process documents, public participation plans, minutes & agendas, topics of interest, reference information, and examples of potential planning products. You can also find useful links to project partner webpages and other sources of information.

Community Guided Planning and Zoning for Aroostook County

Community Guided Planning and Zoning for Washington County Maine

Community Guided Planning and Zoning for Western Maine

Why now?

In the early years of the LUPC, the Commission's major focus was resource zoning and the identification and protection of significant natural resources in the jurisdiction. Development subdistricts were identified as part of the initial zoning efforts, but were limited primarily to areas including or near existing development. LUPC Commissioners and staff have sought to more proactively plan for development in the jurisdiction, instead of on a case-by-case basis. To date, the Commission has undertaken prospective zoning in the Rangeley Lakes region, as well as in several townships that have deorganized since the LUPC formed (Centerville, Greenfield, and Madrid).

Guiding Criteria

The LUPC statute (M.R.S. 12 §681-689), the Comprehensive Land Use Plan ,and Chapter 10 Land Use Districts and Standards provide the statutory, policy and regulatory framework for any rezoning proposals that are generated during the Community Guided Planning and Zoning process. The 2010 Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) identifies this type of planning, referred to as prospective zoning, as a priority for implementation. In addition, a directive to initiate prospective zoning is included in recent legislation, Public Law 2011, Chapter 682 (enacting LD 1798).

For more information about the Community Guided Planning & Zoning process see LUPC's two-page information sheet, or contact Samantha Horn Olsen at (207) 287-4932, or email Samantha.Horn-Olsen@maine.gov.