Cumberland council looks again at impact fee ordinance

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CUMBERLAND — A month after it approved an amended impact fee ordinance, the Town Council on Monday sent a new proposed change to the Planning Board for a recommendation.

The town’s Ordinance Committee recommended language be added that would waive the fee on a building permit for a house rebuilt after being destroyed by a fire, flood or other natural disaster, as long as the number of dwelling units does not increase.

The fee would also not apply to a building permit for an existing residence to be move to a new lot.

The fee would still apply if a house were deliberately demolished. But the first 1,000 square feet of the replacement structure, or the total square footage of the demolished building, whichever is greater, would not be assessed a fee.

If a house were moved from a lot, and a new house built on that lot, the impact fee would apply. However, if the relocated house is donated to a charitable cause, the fee would only apply to the portion of the new building that exceeds the old one.

Town Manager Bill Shane noted Monday that the impact fee is waived after five years for additions to existing homes.

The Town Council unanimously forwarded the amended language to the Planning Board for a recommendation on Monday; the language must return to the council for a final vote.

Under the ordinance language the Town Council approved last month, each time a new residential property is built in Cumberland, the owner would be charged a $100 growth management fee, as well as an impact fee of $1.40 per square foot beyond the first 1,000 square feet.

The growth management and impact fees have gone toward the cost of acquiring the Rines Forest in 2003, as well as improvements to the Twin Brook Recreation Facility.

The Town Council also voted Monday to send an ordinance change to the Planning Board that would ban junk yards in all zones. They are currently allowed only in the Industrial Zone. The only licensed junk yard – Cumberland Salvage on Blackstrap Road, in the Rural Residential 2 zone – has been grandfathered.

One Steel, a metal recycling operation proposed for the Chase Pit on Blackstrap Road, would also be exempt from the change if approved by the town later this year.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.