The Pownal Planning Board, which has written a draft document on a proposed back-lots ordinance, will conduct morning workshops on Feb. 10 and Feb. 24 to review its findings.

The public is invited to both workshops, which begin at 8 a.m., at Mallett Hall.

A back-lots ordinance would make it easier for homeowners to create and sell another house lot on their property that doesn’t have road frontage.

“We’ve been on it for over a year now,” said Ron Hodsdon, Planning Board chairman. “We just sent our last draft to the town lawyer, Natalie Burns, to look it over.”

Hodsdon said that once the document passes legal muster, the Planning Board will ask the Board of Selectman to put the ordinance on the warrant for the annual town meeting in June. At least two public hearings would be held, probably in March and April.

The town’s zoning ordinance stipulates 300 feet of road frontage for a house. A back-lots ordinance would help property owners, many of whom are going to see their property taxes increase sharply in value following this summer’s revaluation of town property. A back-lot ordinance would allow property owners to have an additional lot, or to build a town-approved subdivision road.

“People have asked for years about back lots,” Hodsdon said. “We’ve looked at other towns’ back-lots ordinances and seen what would be best of us.”

Hodsdon said that between 10 and 20 percent of Pownal landowners could benefit from the proposed ordinance.

“Back lots are only going to apply to people who have enough land but don’t have enough frontage,” he said.

Property values in town are set to increase – some sharply – after a town-wide property valuation that begins this spring. Tim Giddinge, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, has said that property owners whose taxes increase due to the revaluation could benefit if they have the right to sell off a back lot. Property owners will need a minimum lot size of 5 acres in order.

“It gives the landowners who are paying taxes on their property more options,” Giddinge said. “The development part of our zoning ordinance is pretty stringent, and sometimes expensive, especially if people have to build private roads to add lots.”

Selectmen, meanwhile, are hosting an informational session about programs offered to qualifying taxpayers in Maine to help reduce land values, on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 9-11 a.m., at Mallett Hall. Applications for all programs will be available at the informational session, as well as explanations of each program.

Those unable to attend will be able to find information and application forms at www.pownalmaine.org.


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