Belfast City Council to discuss facility use requests, proposed ordinance amendments

Amendments focus on increasing housing opportunities within bypass area of City
Sun, 03/31/2024 - 4:45pm

    BELFAST — Belfast City Council will meet Tuesday, April 2, for its regularly scheduled meeting. Agenda items on Belfast City Manager Erin Herbig’s pre-meeting report include facility use requests, and proposed ordinance amendments focusing on increasing housing opportunities inside the bypass portion of the City, among other topics. 

    There are two facility use requests featured in this Tuesday’s meeting, both of which are from Parks and Recreation Director Pam Salokangas. The first request is for the use of Steamboat Landing Park by the Hospice Volunteers of Waldo County from 1 a.m. May 5, through 3 p.m. the same day, for a Family Fun Day Event.

    The Hospice Volunteers request is also for the Boathouse rental, which will be used for the group’s annual Spring Sports Day, taking place Sunday May 7, starting at 1 p.m. The events are free to the public and will reportedly provide opportunities for guests to participate in badminton, croquet, strolling, egg and spoon races, and arts and crafts, according to the request. If the request is approved, setup would begin around 10 a.m. 

    The second facility request is also for Steamboat Landing Park, this time including the Harbor Walk, and Heritage Park. This request is for the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition to host their A Walk and Roll Stewardship Day, scheduled to take place Saturday, June 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 pm. According to the request, the event will include tables set up along the walk with children’s activities, food, and displays of ways people can get involved with the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition initiatives. 

    During the meeting there will be a presentation on proposed amendments to the City Code of Ordinances, Chapter 66 Definitions, Chapter 80 In-town Design Review, Chapter 90 Site Plan, Chapter 98 Technical Standards, and Chapter 102, Zoning. 

    The Belfast Planning Board voted unanimously Feb. 28, to recommend a package of ordinance amendments to the Belfast City Council for adoption that the Board has been working on since summer 2023. The proposed ordinance amendments are focused on increasing housing opportunities of all types in the City and addressing the incorporation of State Statute changes required in LD2003 and supporting legislation, according to Herbig’s pre-meeting report

    The amendments concern the portion of Belfast that is within the Route 1 bypass area, and comes after “major zoning overhauls in all other areas of the City,” the report states. 

    The goals of the ordinance amendments are broken down in the pre-meeting report, into the following categories of changes:

    1. Increase housing development opportunities inside the Route 1 bypass area of Belfast. 
    2. Adopt State Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) standards in compliance with LD2003. 
    3. Incorporate density bonuses and maximum parking requirements in LD2003 for Affordable Housing as defined by the State. 
    4. Accommodate standards in the State law requiring the City to allow four dwelling units on a vacant lot for any zoning districts that allow housing in “designated growth areas.”
    5. Accommodate standards in the State law requiring the City to allow three dwelling units on a lot with an existing single-family home for any zoning districts that allow housing in “designated growth areas.”
    6. Consolidate inside the bypass chapter 102 zoning use and dimensional tables into City-wide format. 
    7. Minor cleanups including a front minimum structure setback adjustment affecting three lots on Cottage Street amendments in support of minor agricultural uses, supporting Chapter 66 definitions amendments and a newly proposed process in Chapter 80 for residential multifamily and “flex-housing” design review. 

    This portion is strictly a presentation, and no Council action is required for this agenda item. 

    Director of Code and Planning Bub Fournier will be present at the meeting to answer any questions. 

    Following the presentation there will be a public hearing on the proposed amendments. Anyone interested is invited to participate in the public hearing and will be given an opportunity to be heard according to the request. 

    Following the public hearing on the proposed amendments, there will be a first reading, which will allow the Council to discuss, amend, table, or approve the First Reading of the proposed amended ordinance. 

    If approved by the Council, Director Fournier has requested that a motion be made to approve the First Reading. 

    Additional information regarding the proposed amendments, and a full meeting agenda are available to review on the City’s website.

    Erica Thoms can be reached at