Municipal Review Procedures and Standards for Projects
The City of Brewer has developed a variety of standards that guide development and use of nonresidential properties and multifamily structures. These standards were established to primarily promote public health, environmental health, safety and general welfare. The City of Brewer has a team approach in working with applicants to make this process as simple and quick as possible while meeting the requirements of the City ordinances.
This section summarizes Brewer’s site plan review process that applies to nonresidential uses. Copies of the complete Brewer Land Use Code are available from the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall or can be seen here. The following summaries are provided for general informational purposes and should not be relied upon without consulting the actual ordinance.
The first step is to determine if your proposed use is allowed in the zoning district. Section 306.5 of the Brewer Land Use Code shows a matrix with all of the zoning districts and a list of uses. If the matrix shows a “P”, that means it is an allowed use and permits from the Brewer Code Enforcement Office are required. If an “S” is in the matrix, that means it is an allowed use and needs site plan approval from the Brewer Planning Board along with any permits from the Code Enforcement Office. If a “Y” is in the matrix, it is an allowed use without a permit. And lastly, if the square is blank, it means that use is not allowed in that zoning district. If any of the letters are followed by numbers, it means there is a corresponding footnote (located at the bottom of the matrix) with additional information and/or requirements. If your proposed use is not specifically listed, please contact the Code Enforcement Officer at 207.989.7790. Click here to view the key to the list of district symbols and permit required symbols.
The second step is to find a parcel of land or specific location. The Brewer Land Use Code Section 307.1 establishes dimensional requirements for each zoning district such as minimum lot size, building setbacks, maximum structure coverage, and maximum building height. When acquiring right, title or interest in a parcel, whether it be an existing structure or vacant land, these standards apply (unless a waiver is on file or if the parcel is considered legal non-conforming). Check with the Brewer Code Enforcement Office to be certain for either of these items. Dimensional requirements must be met for any new construction and/or expansion of existing improvements.
Now that you know your use and assuming you have a location in which your use is allowed with site plan approval….. the next step is review and approval by the Brewer Planning Board. To receive site plan approval, the applicant must demonstrate that the proposed activity complies with the applicable general performance standards and meets the site plan review criteria outlined in Article 6 of the Brewer Land Use Code (For a copy of this ordinance, please visit the City Clerk’s page or call the City Clerk at 207.989.7050). The review elements include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Adequate vehicular access to and into the site
- Appropriate internal vehicular circulation
- Pedestrian circulation
- Stormwater management
- Erosion and sedimentation control
- Water supply
- Sewage disposal
- Exterior lighting
- Waste disposal
- Landscaping and buffering
- Compatibility with landscape and natural features
- Compatibility with land uses
- Impact on abutting properties
- Shoreland regulations
- Technical and financial capacity
Article 4 of the Brewer Land Use Code includes performance standards such as the amount of required parking, landscaping/buffering standards and use-specific requirements. Depending on your project type, design, location, and size, your project may need to meet the City of Brewer’s Post-Construction Stormwater Ordinance, Sign Ordinance, fall within the impact fee district, or require State and/or Federal permits (For a copy of any of these ordinances, please visit the City Clerk’s page or call the City Clerk at 207.989.7050).
Now for the review process…. The City of Brewer has a unique internal review process that allows for projects to have their required public hearing and Board review during the same Planning Board meeting, often receiving site plan approval all in one meeting!
The regular Brewer Planning Board meeting is held the first Monday of the month with four complete copies of the site plan submission and appropriate fees due four weeks in advance. The City Planner begins staff review of the application and, if found complete, places the project on the agenda of the Technical Review Committee meeting. This committee is comprised of representatives of all the City technical departments (Code Enforcement, Engineering, Public Works, Water, Sewer, Police, Fire, and Economic Development) who review and comment on the application. Afterwards, the Planning Department prepares a two-fold letter to the applicant which states whether the application was found complete or not, along with any comments, questions or concerns raised by City staff. The applicant then has approximately a week to make any changes before submitting 14 copies to the Planning Department. These revised applications, along with staff memos and a draft written Planning Board Order are delivered to the Planning Board members one week prior to their meeting in order to give them time to review. The draft Planning Board Order includes background information, findings of fact for the site plan criteria, and suggested conditions of approval.
Once you have received your site plan approval by the Planning Board, you can now contact the Code Enforcement Office for any additional required permits and then start work. The site has to be constructed or modified according to the approved site plans and all the conditions of approval need to be met prior to occupancy. And as is usually said at the Planning Board meetings….. Welcome to Brewer!
Other projects such as fill and grading plans (see Section 413 of the Brewer Land UseCode) and home day cares (see Section 411 of the Brewer Land Use Code) have a similar process with different review criteria. Multifamily housing is considered a “subdivision” according to State definitions, and therefore require review as both a site plan (Article 6 of the Brewer Land Use Code) and subdivision (Article 7 of the Brewer Land Use Code). For a copy of any of these ordinances, please visit the City Clerk’s page or call the City Clerk at 207.989.7050. However, as allowed by home rule authority, the City of Brewer Planning Board may vote to review only using the more stringent site plan process and review criteria. Please contact the City Planner for further details.
The City Planner should be contacted regarding any questions about the development review process and is available to assist you in understanding the process and all the requirements.