Rental Housing Hearings - September 5, 2017

The City of Belfast City Council, at its meeting of Tuesday, September 5, 2017, beginning at 7:00 pm or as soon as practical thereafter, in the Council Chambers of Belfast City Hall which is located at 131 Church Street, shall conduct public hearings on several potential amendments to the City Code of Ordinances that the City is considering as a way to increase the amount of rental housing in Belfast. The proposals include:

1) First Reading of amendments to allow construction of a detached accessory dwelling unit on a property on which an existing single family residence is constructed. Chapter 102, Zoning, now allows construction of a 1 bedroom detached accessory dwelling unit in the Residential 1, 2 and 3 zoning districts. The proposed amendments would allow construction of either a 1 or 2 bedroom detached accessory dwelling unit to an existing single family residence in all zoning districts in which a single family residence is allowed, provided the property can satisfy certain standards. A detached accessory dwelling unit is a structure that is not attached to the single family residence.

2) First Reading of amendments to Chapter 102, Zoning to increase the current density standard (number of housing units per acre) for the construction of multi-family housing in the Searsport Avenue Commercial, Searsport Avenue Waterfront, Route 141 & Mill Lane Commercial, Route 1 South Commercial, Route 137 Commercial, Office Park, General Purpose A, and General Purpose B zoning districts, provided the property is served by public sewer and other standards can be met. The current density standard for the above zoning districts is either 3 units or 6 units of multi-family housing per acre. The proposal is to increase the density standard to 20 units per acre.

3) Public hearing to solicit initial public comment on other potential options the Council is considering regarding rental housing. These options include but are not necessarily limited to: allowing the conversion of existing single family and two family units located inside the bypass to be multi-family housing; allowing tiny houses on wheels as an accessory dwelling unit; allowing the establishment of tiny houses on wheels communities; amending current mobile home park standards, including a proposal to allow other types of housing units in a park; establishing a licensing and inspection program for rental housing units; and establishing standards regarding the use of a residence as a short-term rental, such as an air bnb. The Council is not considering specific amendments at this meeting, but is providing an opportunity for initial public comment on these potential options.

The public is invited to offer public comment at the September 5 hearings. Alternatively, comment can be submitted in writing or via email by 5:00 pm on September 5. Written comment should be sent to: City of Belfast, Code & Planning Dept, 131 Church St, Belfast, ME, 04915, and email comment to .

Proposed amendments can be viewed on the code and planning page of the city website,, or at the Code and Planning Department offices in City Hall, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday. Questions should be directed to Wayne Marshall, Director, Code and Planning at 338-3370 x 125, or at