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Permitting Guidance for Storm Damage Repairs

Permitting Guidance for Storm Damage Repairs

The significant storms on January 10 and 13 caused flood damage both to Town infrastructure and personal property. As residents affected by property damage plan for repairs, please note that all repairs and improvements require permitting. Properties within a dune system and/or floodplain have additional regulations which must be met to ensure compliance with Scarborough’s Floodplain Management Ordinance. Please refer to the guidance below for details.

Local permitting required for properties:

  • Within the mapped flood hazard areas
  • Within the Shoreland Zone

Federal permitting may be required for properties:

  • Within the frontal or back dunes


Within Special Flood Hazard Area

When an estimated cost of repairs necessary to bring the structure back to its pre-damage condition exceeds 50% of the market value of the building alone, it is considered Substantial Damage (SD). If a building has received a Substantial Damage Determination (SDD), it must be brought into compliance with the Floodplain Management Ordinance requirements, which could mean that the structure needs to be elevated above the base flood.

When the cost of improvements to a building equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the building alone, it is considered Substantial Improvement (SI), which also triggers compliance with the ordinance, including elevating the structure above base flood.

If emergency repairs are made to a building, please keep a record of the value of repairs and take photos of damage and/or repairs. All flood hazard development permits for repairs and/or improvements issued within a 1-year period will be cumulative towards Substantial Damage/Substantial Improvement.

Repairs to retaining/sea walls: These repairs require a minor permit in order to put them back the way they were. They cannot be enlarged without undergoing a full engineering analysis to determine whether a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) is warranted. These types of enlargements can change the base flood elevation, the flood zone, and/or the limit of the flood hazard boundary line. The integrity of the maps depends on this process to keep them accurate.

Within the Shoreland Zone

Damaged and Replacement Structures: Any non-conforming structure which is located less than the required setback from a water body, tributary stream, or wetland and which is removed, or damaged or destroyed, regardless of the cause, by more than 50% of the market value will have to be permitted by the Board of Appeals and go through Greatest Practical Extent review to see if there is a spot on the property that is conforming or more conforming with the regulations that are currently in use.  Recreational boat storage buildings are not considered functionally water dependent.

Within the Dune System

Direct replacement of a seawall (after emergency action): The department shall approve a permit by rule to repair or replace a seawall, bulkhead, retaining wall or similar structure that has been destroyed or threatened with a structure that is identical in all dimensions and location as long as a property owner files a completed permit-by-rule notification for the repair or replacement of the structure and the following standards are met (View more).

Construction of new seawall/structure: Requires an individual Sand Dune Natural Resource Protection Act permit. (Chapter 355: Coastal Sand Dune Rules)

Dune restoration/construction: Requires a Permit By Rule. (Chapter 305: Section 16-A)

Maine Geological Survey involvement will likely be necessary for all of these projects.


Within the Dune System

The following activities do not require a permit:

Maintenance and repair (View more): Maintenance and repair of a structure, other than a crossing, in, on, over or adjacent to a protected natural resource if:

A.    Erosion control measures are taken to prevent sedimentation of the water [PL 1995, c. 27, §1 (RPR).]

B.    [PL 2011, c. 205, §1 (RP).]

C.    There is no additional intrusion into the protected natural resource; and [PL 1995, c. 27, §1 (RPR).]

D.    The dimensions of the repaired structure do not exceed the dimensions of the structure as it existed 24 months prior to the repair… [PL 1995, c. 27, §1 (RPR).]

This subsection does not apply to: the repair of more than 50% of a structure located in a coastal sand dune system; or the repair of more than 50% of any other structure, unless the municipality in which the proposed activity is located requires a permit for the activity through an ordinance adopted pursuant to the mandatory shoreland zoning laws and the application for a permit is approved by the municipality;” (View more).

Emergency actions to protect threatened property (View more): Notwithstanding section 480‑C, if the local code enforcement officer, a state-licensed professional engineer or a state-licensed geologist determines that the integrity of a seawall, bulkhead, retaining wall or similar structure in a coastal sand dune system is destroyed or threatened, the owner of property protected by the seawall, bulkhead, retaining wall or similar structure may perform or cause to be performed the following activities without obtaining a permit under this article (View more).


Permitting Guidance for Storm Recovery Activities (Maine DEP)

Chapter 355: Coastal Sand Dune Rules

Chapter 305: Natural Resources Protection Act - Permit By Rule

Title 38 Section 480-C

Title 38 Section 480-Q

Title 38 Section 480-W


Local Permitting

Brian Longstaff
Zoning Administrator CEO/LPI/CFM
P.O. Box 360
Scarborough, ME 04038
(207) 730-4050

State & Federal Permitting

Martha Harris
Environmental Specialist II
Maine Department of Environmental Protection
312 Canco Road
Portland, ME 04103
(207) 450-4562


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