Community Guided Planning and Zoning (Prospective Zoning)

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Last Updated: October 22, 2013


Recent efforts to improve the effectiveness of managing land use in the unorganized and deorganized areas of Maine have focused in part on the need for more locally guided and proactive planning for these areas. 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).

In the early years of the LUPC, the Commission's major focus was resource zoning and the identification and protection of the significant natural resources in the jurisdiction. Development subdistricts were identified as part of the initial zoning efforts, and were limited primarily to areas including or near existing development. LUPC Commissioners and staff have long recognized that the current reactive approach of case-by-case rezonings for development projects is not workable over the long-term, and the intent has always been to more proactively plan for development within the jurisdiction. 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).

Process for Selecting a Region

The Commission initiated its community guided planning and zoning efforts by sending an October, 2012 Request for Letters of Interest to 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.

In February 2013 the Commission selected Northern Maine Development Commission's letter of interest to participate in community guided planning and zoning for Aroostook County as the initial region to participate in a series of local workshops to help determine overall regional interest and, if interest is confirmed, further develop a framework for the community guided planning and zoning process.

Community Guided Planning and Zoning for Aroostook County

Facilitated Workshop Process

The facilitated workshop discussions were intended to produce a document about process, funding and participation that will meet the needs of the region and reflect the basic principles that the Commission outlined. The workshops were facilitated by a professional facilitator. The LUPC worked with Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC) and a steering committee to develop a document that describes the process and which reflects the time and resources available for the project.

The process document developed by the steering committee was approved by the NMDC Executive Board of Directors on June 13, 2013. NMDC submitted the process document to the LUPC for its review and approval at its upcoming July 9, 2013 meeting.

Materials from the workshops are available here:

Regional Land Use Planning Process

Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC) will be holding the first Community Guided Planning and Zoning meeting on Wednesday October 23rd from 9AM to noon at NMDC's Office in Caribou. The following is the proposed agenda:

  • 9:00 Welcome and Introductions
  • 9:10 Brief Process Paper review
  • 9:20 What are we attempting to accomplish?
  • 10:00 Major projects the region- Group discussion
    • Fish River Concept Plan
    • Mining Issues
    • Other-group
  • 10:45 Administrative Issues
    • Nomination and election of a chair
    • Meeting Schedule (days and times)
    • Meeting locations
  • 11:30 Where do we begin- Information gathering and materials needed
  • 12:00 Set next meeting/adjourn

If you have any questions regarding this meeting contact Jay Kamm at 498-8736 or email

Community Guided Planning & Zoning Information

For more information about the Community Guided Planning & Zoning process see LUPC's two-page information sheet.

Guiding Criteria

The LUPC statute (MRSA 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.

Other Resources and Links

For more information, or to participate in this process, contact Hugh Coxe at (207) 287-2662 or email at