KENNEBUNK – Proposed changes to Kennebunk’s zoning ordinances to comply with new state legislation passed in a bid to alleviate housing affordability issues across Maine are the subject of a public hearing on Monday, March 13.

The hearing will be at 7 p.m. on the third floor of Kennebunk Town Hall at 1 Summer St.

The legislation, LD 2003, requires municipalities to increase housing density, among other provisions. The bill was passed a year ago, and its requirements take effect July 1.

Under the new law, municipalities must allow additional dwelling units on lots zoned for single-family homes, allow at least one accessory dwelling unit on lots with existing single-family homes, and in some areas, requires municipalities to allow 21/2 times the currently allowed housing units, for developments where most of the units meet standard affordability definitions, noted Deputy Community Development Director Karen Winton.

The zoning changes proposed in Kennebunk include updating the various zoning districts that allow residential dwellings to also allow an accessory dwelling unit on the property. Accessory dwelling units may be as small as 190 square feet, which is the minimum set by the state statute, and no larger than 1,000 square feet, and must meet current setbacks.  Kennebunk currently allows accessory dwelling units, but the current maximum is 650 square feet.

“We realized (650 square feet) was one of the lowest of neighboring towns,” said planning board chair Chris MacClinchy.  “After referencing what other towns are doing and in the spirit of the new law, we are proposing for the maximum to be 1,000 square feet.”


The planning  board is also proposing that the primary and the accessory dwelling unit each be occupied as primary residences, with “primary residence” defined as more than six months per year.

The proposed changes also updates zoning districts to allow for increased density and reduced parking requirements, and an update of  performance standards to cover various stipulations of LD 2003, like water and sewer requirements, Winton noted. The proposal also updates definitions.

MacClinchy said it is the planning board’s understanding that the proposed changes it is putting forward will bring the town into compliance with the new law, but he pointed out the state is still in the process of finalizing the rules and that some further changes may necessary in November.

“I applaud state lawmakers for working to address the issue of affordable housing with LD 2003, something we have been working on locally for several years, albeit with limited success,” MacCinchy said in an email. “Our hope is that the new law will encourage builders throughout the region to create more affordable units. I feel that the changes the law imposes on Kennebunk will not have a tremendous impact, for good or for ill.”

The proposed changes may be read at Comments may be submitted in advance of the March 13  hearing to Town Planner Brittany Howard at

To put the proposed changes to voters at the annual town meeting on June 13, the planning board must send the amendments to the select board, who must also hold a public hearing – the first is set for April 11, said Town Clerk Merton Brown – and decide whether to place an article on the warrant for a vote. If they do, a second select board public hearing is May 30.

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