Environmental Rules Relaxed in Orono
An Orono City Council vote this week addressed homeowner concerns, and simplified an often confusing rule. It also makes it easier for more of the city to get paved.
The city's "hardcover" regulations are meant to prevent runoff, protecting lake water quality. The city defines hardcover as "a hard surface that prevents or retards entry of water into the soil and causes water to run off the surface in greater quantities and at an increased rate of flow than prior to development."
Examples given include buildings, driveways, sidewalks, stepping stones, patios, tennis courts, and pools.
The current regulations prohibit hardcover within 75 feet of a lakeshore. For property beyond that 75 foot limit, hardcover was limited to a percentage of the surface area.
The new regulation keeps the 75 foot limit. But the property within that 75 feet will now count toward the amount of non-hardcover area required for the property.
"The change addresses a long-standing concern that inequities amongst lakeshore properties in Orono were based heavily on lot shape rather than lot size," said a city spokesperson.
It also could cut the workload for city staff by reducing the number homeowners asking for variances from the hardcover rules.
"These ordinance revisions are expected to result in maintenance of Orono's existing high levels of lake and environmental protection, as overall hardcover allotment remains relatively consistent with what was being approved through variances."
A vote for final adoption of the new rules is scheduled for the council's September 24 meeting. It's scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. in Orono Council Chambers.
To read more about the changes, click here.