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Tremont Campground Land Use Ordinance Moves Forward

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Proposed amendments to Tremont’s (Maine) Land Use Ordinance (LUO), designed to improve the regulation of campgrounds, have advanced from the Planning Board to the Select Board, according to a report.

The Planning Board voted on Tuesday to send an amended draft to the Select Board, which will decide at its meeting on March 7 whether to include this on the town meeting ballot in May. If placed on the ballot, there will be a public hearing with the Select Board in April.

The Planning Board has been drafting modifications to the LUO since voters approved a six-month moratorium banning all campground development in November. The final draft amendments including minimum site size, setback standards, and improved definitions were made at the board’s meetings on January 25 and February 8.

To avoid any confusion that could arise from land use definitions, a change was made to Article V of the LUO that outlines the application requirements for other land use activities. The current Article V does not include recreational lodging facilities, which the Planning Board thought should be included in the definition of campgrounds.

The drafted article section now reads: “Campgrounds/Recreational Lodging Facilities” and includes campgrounds in the definition of recreational lodging facilities.

Recreational Lodging Facility is described “as a commercial facility containing campsites or temporary or permanent structures that are used or rented for sleeping purposes by tourists, transients or other visitors, including, without limitation, tents, recreational vehicles, cottages, cabins, yurts, and other types of shelter. Recreational Lodging Facility does not include Hotel/Motel, Home Occupation Bed and Breakfast, Individual Private Campsites, Recreational Facility, or Residential Dwelling Unit as defined in Article XI, or the rental of a Residential Dwelling Unit or of rooms in a Residential Dwelling Unit.”

CTR members expressed concern that the size of campgrounds is getting out of control. There is no minimum parcel size or maximum number of units per campground in the LUO but it will be determined by the maximum density of 5,000 sqft. for each campsite.

Under the ordinance, proposed campgrounds or “glampgrounds” in Tremont must have each campsite measure a minimum of 5,000 sqft. This is roughly equivalent to 70-by-70 feet or 100-by-50 feet.

Based on the current LUO, an acre could accommodate as many as eight sites.

The proposed planning board changes also include a minimum size of 10 acres and the maximum density for a recreational lodging facility to be a unit for every 10,000 sqft. of the suitable land area.

Moreover, “the minimum setback for structures, yurt sites and the like used for recreational lodging facilities shall be 75 feet from the property lines of abutting properties, 100 feet from the normal high water mark of a great pond, 75 feet from the normal high water mark of a river, stream, brook or upland edge of a freshwater wetland, and 50 feet from the edge of the right of way of a road providing access to the site.”

To deal with the problem of recreational vehicles jamming Tremont’s roads, the Planning Board drafted to not permit them in any more campgrounds moving forward.

This story originally appeared on Mount Desert Islander.

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