Buying a home or a piece of land can be a very enlightening experience. One of the more overlooked pieces of buying real estate is the fact that in most instances you will at some point need permits to complete renovations or build new structures. Permitting is different depending on the location of the parcel and can be overwhelming to a new purchaser if they have no experience with the permitting process. Permitting is mandated by Federal, State and/or local authorities. Though the permitting process in most regions of the State of Maine is straight forward, permitting in the Unorganized Territories can be arduous if you are not familiar with the regulatory requirements.
Unorganized Territories in the State of Maine are overseen by the Land Use Planning Commission or LUPC. When you are ready to build, subdivide, mine, etc., you can go online to the LUPC website or call the representative in the jurisdiction where your parcel of land is located. Generally, in either case you will receive a lengthy application with vague directions to complete along with a regulation manual, which are the regulations that must be followed when completing your chosen permitted activity. Most individuals will struggle through the application process usually resulting in the submission of an incomplete application and much time wasted. However, there are a few easy steps that can make this process less stressful.
First, find your parcel of land on the LUPC Parcel viewer located on the LUPC website. This viewer will give you the information you will need to follow the regulation manual, such as which LUPC Zone your property is located. In most instances there will be more than one zone.
Second, make sure you understand what can be done in each zone to ensure your project fits within the regulations. This can be accomplished by reviewing the sections of the regulations that apply to the zone where your property is located.
Third, acquire a copy of your deed. You will need to research the last 20 years of deed history and get copies of the deeds to submit with your LUPC application. This can be accomplished by visiting your county registry. Most of these files can be purchased online.
Last, you are now ready to complete your permit application. Fill out all questions. Refer back to the regulations to ensure your project fits the zoning requirements. The last page of the application contains a check-off sheet. Review this sheet and check all that apply. This will ensure you have a completed application on the first submittal.
Though it sounds easy, if you have questions don't hesitate to contact a LUPC Representative or an Environmental Consultant that can answer your questions. It is a lot less expensive to ask when in doubt than to try to complete something you don't understand or to receive the permit and have your interpretation being different than LUPC.