How Big A Lot To Build In Maine, Minimum Site Size?

baxterr miane moose photo

How big a lot of land to build in Maine does a fella need?

Because you are cautious, gun shy and conditioned to lots of layers of out of state regulations. Do this, don’t do this, this and oh yeah that too. Plus this long as your arm list. Restrictions, home owner’s association rules, local, county, state zoning ordinances to comply with and to avoid breaking the law. Being served with a cease and desist order from a deputy sheriff, state trooper or baxterr miane moose photogoverment official.

No one likes poison pens letters threatening that we’re making you the defendant on a court docket. Taking legal action if you don’t respond to this notice within ten days.

Daily penalties for the growing fines of being outside the letter of the law stings, smarts too. Maine is a lot simpler than out of state beaucracy that chokes, suffocates and slows everything to a snail’s pace. Not so worrisome.

It’s all important to protect the Maine environment, be a good steward of the land and water, wildlife.

But often when we explain the process in this small Maine town of under 200, the buyer of the land is suprised. It almost seems sloppy compared to all the hoops, jumps they have to make requiring a loss of an arm or a leg to obtain. Or both to get a building permit.

So how big a lot of land in Maine to build on?

Like most things in life, it is not an easy one word answer. And why it depends revolves around where is the lot you want to build on in Maine? The bigger population the town, or if one of the handful of cities we have in Maine,  the more rules above and beyond the state’s shopping list happens. Tougher standard when you are in the 250′ foot shoreland zoning around a Maine waterbody too.

The state of Maine has a minimum lot size to start off the game of building a structure. Where to place a drilled or dug well and full septic if not a muncipality served piece of land with town, city water and sewer in place. The square footage of the home, camp, building for whatever use will eat up a portion of the lot. So will an added wrinkle if the state says no driveway in this area of the road frontage. Because blind spot on the road. Which means potential accidents. Run in to this with subdividing Maine land into small parcel lots from a bigger property more and more.

Side lines, set backs to with the local zoning regulations have to be factored in to make sure it all fits, complies, comes together.

maine land photoOr it’s back to the drawing board time. Before you build and say rut rho. The minmum lot size is 20,000 square feet. Less than a half acre. An acre is 43,560 square feet just so you know. Or as a reminder, refresher from geometry class.

The well and septic disposal sewerage system are suppose to be 100 feet apart.

So depending on the lot of land in Maine to build on, that 20,000 square foot minimum can get eaten up and tight quarters happens. Loss of elbow room to move around options. If ledge over here means no you don’t. Not building here or putting, parking the septic system here either.

The septic if the soils tester’s profile say poor, two thumbs down. Too much like clay or depth to ledge too shallow so here comes the backyard dead elephant, raised bed with a pump, infiltrators, snorkel. Heavy designed septic system.

Or if you are in the shoreland zoning area of say a Maine lake it can add even more head ache to do it right. Be in compliance with the HHE 200 soil test paperwork and septic system design for the sewer.

The number of bedrooms, not bathrooms dictates the size of the leach field on the septic system disposal area.

To handle 90 gallons of water per day per bedroom. That’s the deal, skinny on what the system leachfield of the septic is designed for to be in compliance. Handle today’s living pressures of a modern home with teenagers, mother in law apartments, all those bedrooms. To work property and not lose the sewer septic use in the dead of winter.maine lake sunset photo

Minimum road frontage too another factor. In creating a lot or if grandfathered in as an existing lot of record before the rules change in the comprehensive plan. That lot that used to have a mobile home on it, a structure destroyed by fire within the last year, etc situations.

Many Maine towns are going to an acre, two acre minimum lot size or more for residential building lots.

Some adopted this standard back in the mid 1970’s to tie in with legislation to beef up the rules for building in Maine. Which had been pretty much use your head, common sense and loose as goose.

Without lots of people it was not so all important. But with population sprawl in Southern Maine urban areas, they had to racket up town comprehensive plans for zoning do’s and don’ts. To protect and direct the growth directon of the muncipality.

Cumberland’s four acre minimum lot size zoning sections could be dubbed snob zoning, house building for the elite to protect open space. Even if designed to keep a rural nature, atmosphere. Surry Maine had the one acre to three acre minimum lot size debate in the past.

There was a time when forty acre lots in Maine, you could make a property into as many of those as you liked. Big piece of land. They were all exempt from being counted to trigger a subdivision. That was the law of the Maine land without a town passing an ordinance to change that standard.

So the mimimum lot size in Maine to build is 20,000 square feet and a septic, well if private supplied to be 100 feet apart. Unless a town or city has something above and beyond the state minimum lot size standard.

I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker

207.532.6573  |   |  MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton ME 04730


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