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Zoning Tools

Contract Zoning


Definition: The process by which a property owner agrees to the imposition of certain conditions or restrictions not imposed on other similarly zoned properties to allow a particular kind of development where it otherwise would not be allowed. 


Benefits: Contract zoning is traditionally used for the development of complex, multi-phase projects.  


Getting Started: Schedule a public hearing on the property to be contract zoned. Notice of the hearing must be: 1) posted in the municipal office at least 13 days prior; 2) Published at least two times in a local newspaper; 3) sent to the owner or owners of the property to be rezoned and to the owners of all property abutting the property to be rezoned; and 4) sent to a public drinking water supplier if the area to be rezoned is within its source water protection area.  


State Policy & Local Examples:30-A M.R.S.A. § 4352 outlines the legal stipulations for contract zoning in the State of Maine. The Town of Standish developed an overview of contract zoning, including a sample agreement from the City of South Portland.  


In March 2024, Kennebunk voters approved a contract zone for a 70-unit affordable housing project on empty land adjacent to the Kennebunk Savings Bank operations center. The housing will cater to people age 55 and older who make up to 60 percent of the area's median income.

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