Topsham wants to update its zoning and land development rules as part of an update to its 2019 comprehensive plan.

That plan calls for called for adjusting zoning and establishing a long-range vision for the town that includes protecting its rural character and improving its streets.

The comprehensive plan is organized around “nine big” ideas: Streets for people, local and regional mobility, access to nature and open space, fostering social connections, supporting the knowledge economy, being deliberate about growth, housing diversity, open governance and a more sustainable future economic.

Under a new, $100,000 program called ReCode Topsham, Topsham will attempt to make its zoning and development rules clearer and more compatible with the comprehensive plan.

Topsham’s revised zoning code project map. Town of Topsham


This is the first substantial update of its code in 40 years.

“Since there have been many interim edits to the code over time, regulations are hard to understand and even harder to find,” Andrew Deci, assistant town planner, said. “This is the chance to fix those items and to advance the vision of the adopted plan.”

Current zoning dates to 1986 and has been amended multiple times.

Last year, the select board formed a committee to ensure the town’s comprehensive plan goals and strategies are being addressed. Earlier this year, the town hired consulting firm James Duncan and Associates.

“The consultants have been on board for the last few months and have completed their assessment of our ordinance. They developed a proposed structure and regulating framework for the town to consider,” Deci said. “The committee is guiding the project as their principal implementation activity in the next two years. We hope that a town meeting in 2023 will adopt a revised ordinance for this area of the community.”

“Over the next 18 months, the consultants will continue to work with community members and committees on drafting the various components of the new ordinance. This work is relatively technical but supports the vision for the community,” added Deci.

The first public presentation on the project and discussion about the town’s zoning changes will be held Oct. 6 at the public library at 6 p.m.

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