TRENTON — A special town meeting is set for Tuesday, Oct. 22, to vote on proposed land use ordinance changes intended to make it easier for landowners to develop their property.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the town office.
Like most towns, Trenton requires a certain minimum road frontage to develop land. “Right now,” Code Enforcement Officer Angie Chamberlin said Tuesday, “if you have, say, a ten-acre parcel but only 200 feet of road frontage, then you can’t do anything but keep that 10-acre lot as is.”
According to Chamberlin, the town has many nonconforming buildings.
“I had a lot of problems with people creating lots that [do not] meet that road frontage requirement,” Chamberlin said. “And it’s not fun to tell someone after they’ve divided and sold their lot to someone else that they’ve created a property that was illegal and couldn’t be built on. It definitely needed to be addressed.”
The proposed changes will exempt landowners from meeting minimum road frontage requirements, provided they have a right of way that crosses through another property and is “within a twenty-foot wide easement running from the street to the lot.”
“This is going to bring a lot of properties into compliance or into conformity, and it will allow for more development,” Chamberlain said.
There are two additional proposed zoning changes.
The first will address how far a building must be set back from the road. The size of a building’s setback varies depending on the size of the building. The current Lot Standard Table in the town’s land use ordinance does not include setback rules for buildings smaller than 3,000 square feet.
“Say you have a 2,000 sq foot house, it won’t fall into this chart,” said Chamberlin. “So that’s why I asked if we could add some clarifying language.”
The second change seeks to eliminate confusion in the Lot Definition Amendment which currently includes two competing definitions — one for lot width and one for minimum lot width.
Trenton created the definition of minimum lot width to comply with a law established by the Maine Mandatory Shoreland Zoning Act.
“We put that in because they asked us to, but we already had a definition that it was in conflict with,” Chamberlain said.
She said the change will make it easier for the town to deal with subdivisions. “We’ll have one definition that will cover the state zoning requirements and it will be easier to figure out which standard to apply,” she said.