Cumberland, Yarmouth and Falmouth are in good shape for the enactment of a new Maine law designed to alleviate the affordable housing crisis by increasing housing opportunities, town officials said.

The law, LD 2003, goes into effect July 1 and requires towns to comply with several conditions regarding housing, including allowing additional units on lots zoned for single-family homes and allowing at least one accessory dwelling unit on lots with existing single-family homes. Accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, are self-contained living spaces with a kitchen, bath and bedroom, also known as in-law apartments.

The law will have minimal impact on Cumberland, Town Manager Bill Shane said.

“Our ADU ordinance has been around for a long time,” Shane said. “For close to a decade we’ve done this to keep people in their homes, especially when caring for a family member or relative.”

One change for Cumberland is the added ability to have a main house and an ADU as rental properties, he said.

Under the new law, properties with ADUs will not require additional parking or that one unit must be occupied by the owner, both of which were town requirements in the past, Shane said.


Over the last few months, Cumberland has been reviewing each residential zone to make sure the town is in compliance with the new law.

“LD 2003 will not have a dramatic impact on housing here in Cumberland,” Shane said.

It’s a similar situation in Yarmouth, Director of Development and Planning Erin Zwirko told The Forecaster. The town’s ordinance for ADUs is already in compliance with the new law, but the town will need to update its ordinance to eliminate the need for additional parking.

ADUs were previously allowed in all Yarmouth residential districts, Zwirko said, but the town may need to allow ADUs in some commercial districts now as well.

“It’s pretty straightforward,” Zwirko said.

LD 2003 also lays out an incentive structure for affordable housing developments, requiring towns to allow 2.5 times the number of currently allowed housing units for developments meeting affordability needs.


In Yarmouth, that provision of the law will apply to areas where “multiplex,” or townhouse, developments are allowed, Zwirko said.

“We’ll have to create provisions to allow developments in those areas,” she said.

Increased residential density because of the likelihood of more ADUs will be the most impactful aspect of LD 2003 on Yarmouth, Zwirko said.

Falmouth will see similar marginal impacts. The town currently allows ADUs on single-family properties, but the parking restrictions currently in place will have to be lifted.

Overall, Falmouth may see a slight increase in residential density, according to a statement from the town.

Comments are not available on this story.