Getting A Building Permit For Your Maine Land Or Lot.



Permits for building on your Maine land or vacant lot. What do you need before you start your ground work when you buy just Maine land?

And want is needed for Maine state regulations, for local town, city, plantation or unorganized township paperwork? To make everyone happy, it is best to know going in, right up front. And not to cry, moan, whine later when the Maine land buyer thinks local government is being too hard on them in their building projects.

 First, if the Maine land for sale is located in the country, away from a municipal hook up for public water and sewer, you need a soil test.

 To make sure the Maine land is buildable, get your HHE 200 soil test that is the plumbing disposal plan, the septic system leach field and where you place your well for drinking water, for the domestic use in whatever you build.hansen ext19

It is not hard to swallow the need for a soil test for outlining where everything goes below the ground on your new just land building project.
You want the systems to work, be safe with or without pressurized water systems. Whether you have a McMansion with multiple bedrooms and a slew of baths or a simple cabin with the outhouse and hand carried water from a spring, dug or drilled well that is pumped not piped into the structure you hand craft on the Maine land.

 Shoreland zoning in Maine adds another wrinkle to the construction project and where you build on the vacant land.

Or after tearing down an existing structure on the water front to use the grandfathered in location closer than 100 feet back from the high water mark of the Maine lake, pond. Yes there are regulations around the waterways, when you buy a river lot, something on a stream, brook, the ocean.

 Don’t just read the latest regulations on shoreland zoning from the state and think there, done.

 Check with the local code enforcement folks in the municipality you plan to build before you buy the Maine land. There may be stricter regulations for the building permit and beefed up language in the local shore land zoning regulations that are better to know about and plan for going in. Not when you get a summons, or a knock on the door to whatever you pretty much built without the paperwork work, the all important on going communication with the folks down at the town hall.mainecountryside

It is a lot simpler living in Maine, everywhere you turn when lucky enough to land here.


Most of Maine is rural, small towns, lots of plantations or unorganized locations using “T” this and “R” that. The “T” stands for township, the “R” for range.

So everything is grid work squares back and forth like the old typewriters with the sliding carriages. When you are not in one of the handful of Maine cities, the permitting is less because fewer layers of players. Except when the Maine land borders the water front.

In the Maine plantations, the unorganized townships where all the fishing, hunting, recreational camps and cottages are located, the outfit to be hitting up early on is the Land Use Regulation Commission.

LURC (now LUPC) runs the code enforcement, building side of things in Maine communities too small to stafff all those positions of planning, zoning boards. And implementing new bylaws to address new concerns from the County or state level in Maine for controlling building in a certain fashion. In small rural areas, worry about sprawl, over population being jammed in and unsafe is not a concern. Often simpler living where it is less or no people, no problems. 
In my travels as a Maine real estate broker, I hear some property owners complain during the listing of what they built about a hassle with LURC personnel. My experience is the LURC men and women care very much about the Maine environment and there are carefully written rules tied to the permitting when your land is in these locations that some call the “willy wags” of Vacationland.gardenmaine2

The biggest whining is from property owners who don’t want to be told what they can and can not do with their Maine land.

They got caught. Don’t like being told what I can or can not do, or feel bossed around by what some deem Mister Local Hick Mainer. Even though where they came from out of state, they are used to mountains of paperwork, the long process to deal with many departments along the way to finally securing the expensive building permit. These folks hope Maine have no regulations. We have less, but around the water front, the rules are pretty clear cut, protective and for good reason.

The days of go ahead and clear all those trees down the edge of the Maine lake are over.

Get that back hoe out of the water too. No longer do you just get a slap on the hands and a small fine or order to replant a few where you like them better to enhance your view of the Maine lake. If we don’t protect the Maine lakes, the precious clean water front settings, they will disappear. Man ruins lakes, rivers, the surroundings when there is not policing of the Maine land development.
With a LURC permit that requires filling out the multiple pages of paperwork, adding a sketch of the camp you want to build, any extra storage sheds or porch additions, you know you are in compliance. Have no worries, it is all good with those stamps and signatures if ever challenged. mainedeer01
There is also the need to have that soil test to show how you plan to handle waste, what you expect to use for a water source.

The driveway and parking and how it is drained all impact what happens out front in that Maine lake.

Where you don’t want erosion to dump silt, debris, dead vegetation into the water front resource that wildlife, you and I want to continue to enjoy.
Roadways built causing run off into strreams, brooks, rivers and without culverts hurt the wildlife. The need for reparian buffers, rock lined plung pools and vegetation planted to hold the soil in place and slow drainage from rain, snow run off down from racing into a body of water works best for Mother Nature.

You might not like the regulations around the shoreline of Maine land for building.

But the folks administering the permits are good people and reasonable in making sense of the legislation unless you climb down their throats. Hollering, insulting and trying to strong arm like a bully on the play ground. Sugar works way way better than vinegar when attempting to build on Maine land.lobster maineboat3

In a small Maine town of around 200 people, be prepared to be surprised at how easy it is to build a camp, haul in a cabin or put up a yurt, live in a tent, etc.

No snarky home owner associations to say paint it this color, no lawn police, no one holding a gun to your head and watching the clock and calendar to complete the building in so many weeks or months or else.

 Side line set backs, how does what you want to build fit on the size of the lot or plot of Maine land.

Is the land in the glide path to touch down at an airport? Then check how high, what needs FAA lighting or other compliance to building on the Maine land that you might not have thought of at first glance. Strict codes where you need to give up your first born, trade one of your duplicate organs for the stamped paperwork is not the cost of building permits in keep it simple rural Maine. baxter state park land photo
The title to the Maine land you are ready to piece the Earth with a shovel to start building on could have some surprises.
Better title search the Maine land, to see if any easements, right of ways you did not know about are lurking in the back ground. Because if you put in a big foundation, add the home on top of it and place the well, septic on the lot, it is a sick feeling when you get the call, certified letter, whatever spill the beans communication.
That lets you know move your improvements, all of them because a power line easement is coming through in full steam fashion.
 Or you are on where it might be placed which makes selling this property to another buyer pretty impossible. If you want to recoup from those improvements in your bottom line number on the HUD 1 closing settlement statement.

If you knew the right of way of any kind was on this side of the land, you could have at least built on the other end where it did not impact keeping the buildings, etc where they were first placed. Still, if you knew of a right of way, any easement up front, you might have said pass and keep searching for the just right Maine land parcel.

Some towns don’t even have building permits which sounds sloppy.

But when the town office is divided out among the population with folks holding down full time jobs doing something else, it is remarkably simple and lacking complicated procedures building on the Maine land.

A big comfort for those used to a heavy duty, long drawn out expensive building permit process where they come from out of state. Where large populations mean take a number, have a seat and start writing checks for this and that step. In building on vacant land, or replacing, adding onto to an existing structure and hopefully securing, not being denied a building permit to make the construction legal.
Questions? Reach out! Here for a local Maine resource! Welcome to Maine! Hope this blog post on do I need a permit to build a cabin on Maine land or lot is helpful!

I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker

207.532.6573 |

MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton ME 04730 USA

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