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Environmental Standards

Proposed Environmental Standards

In collaboration with the Conservation Commission, the Planning Department proposes environmental standards be added to Chapter 405B, Site Plan Review Ordinance, to enhance protections to Scarborough’s saltmarshes, freshwater wetlands, rivers and streams, vernal pools, and coastal bluffs.

The Comprehensive Plan Vision Statement 1 speaks to the necessity of this ordinance: 

The Scarborough Marsh is central to the Town’s identity, creating a special awareness by our residents of the importance of all of the Town's natural resources. Future land use will follow a pattern of development that is sensitive to protecting our beaches, dunes, rivers, open spaces, farmlands, and other elements that comprise our unique ecosystem.

The new standards, upon approval will be added to Chapter 405B Site Plan Standards.

The new ordinance proposal includes:

  • Protections for all new or expanded development requiring site plan or subdivision approval
  • Definitions relating to natural resources
  • Natural resource setbacks for wetlands, vernal pools, rivers, streams and brooks, coastal marshes and coastal bluffs
  • Vegetated buffers for wetlands, vernal pools, rivers, streams and brooks, coastal marshes and coastal bluffs
  • Permitted activities within natural resource setbacks and vegetated buffer areas 
  • Specifications for natural resource protection plan
  • Placeholder for potential waivers 

GIS staff has created an interactive mapping layer to review potential impacts to properties with the proposed standards in place.  Undeveloped parcels are those defined as having less than $25,000 assessed value at the time of map creation.  There may be more unidentified parcels that would be affected by the proposal with redevelopment or additional wetland mapping.  

Environmental Standards Meeting Schedule

The Conservation Commission began the ordinance drafting at their meeting on August 9, 2023.  Revised drafts were presented and discussed at their meetings on October 16, 2023, November 13, 2023, and December 11, 2023. 

On January 24, 2024, the Conservation Commission voted to recommend the final draft be presented to Ordinance Committee.  On February 28, the Conservation Commission made an amendment to the final draft.  The Ordinance Commitee review is tentatively scheduled for April 10, 2024.