Town of Vassalboro
Building Permit Ordinance

Adopted March 1974

Amendment Dates:

March 1975 May 1975 June 1987 May 1991 June 1987 June 1999 June 2005 June 2008

June 2008



 The purpose of this ordinance is to assure compliance with existing state and local regulations governing land use and subsurface wastewater disposal; secure the comfort, convenience, safety, health and welfare of the people of the Town of Vassalboro; and protect the environment and to promote the development of an economically sound and stable community.


 This Ordinance is enacted pursuant to the Home Rule provisions of the Constitution of the State of Maine and the Home Rule and Police Power Statutes of the State of Maine.


The provisions of this Ordinance shall apply, except as noted in A through D, to all new construction, modular homes, new and re-located mobile homes, in ground pools, communication towers, major reconstructions as defined in Section 15, additions, existing buildings with a proposed change to residential use, and all other relocations in the Town of Vassalboro. This Ordinance shall apply to new structures and additions located in the Shoreland Zone.  

This ordinance shall not apply to:

A. Normal building maintenance such as painting, roofing, foundation repair, replacement of windows, doors, siding, flooring and minor reconstructions as defined in Section 15,

B. Temporary garages, and temporary storage sheds, as defined in Section 15,

C. Ramps solely to provide handicap access, or

D. Accesssory structures and decks with an area of less than or equal to 100 square feet.

Questions as to the necessity of securing a permit shall be directed to the Code Enforcement Officer.


The Building Ordinance shall supersede all former ordinances and shall become effective immediately after approval by the voters of the Town of Vassalboro.


 Where the provisions of this Ordinance conflict with this or any other ordinance, the stricter standard shall apply.


Should any section or provision of this Ordinance be declared invalid, such invalidity shall not void or make invalid any other section of this Ordinance.


This Ordinance may be amended by a majority vote of any legal Town Meeting when such amendment is published in the Warrant calling for such meeting.


A. Authority - The Code Enforcement Officer shall administer provisions of this Ordinance.

B. Permits

  1. Permit Required - No person shall authorize or undertake any applicable work as defined in Section 3 of this Ordinance without first obtaining a permit from the Town. All applications for permits required by this ordinance shall be made in writing. The application for permits shall be in a form as the Municipal Officers shall prescribe and shall contain the following:

    1. Name, address, and phone number of applicant

    2. Tax map and lot number

    3. Location of work

    4. Whether or not proposal is within Shoreland Zone

    5. Estimated cost of work

    6. Use of structure

    7. The number of bedrooms

    8. Contractor name, address, and phone number

    9. A sketch plan containing

      • The exterior dimensions of all proposed structures including decks

      • Distances from structures to property lines and roads, and

      • Driveway entrance locations.

      • Existing and proposed location of wells and subsurface wastewater systems

The applications shall be filed with the town office prior to the start of any work. A permit is valid only for the named applicant and is non-transferable.

  1. Requirements for permitting - The Code Enforcement Officer shall grant a building permit provided:

    1. A driveway entrance permit has been obtained from Maine DOT for a proposed driveway entering a state road (MRSA Title 30-A, Chapter 185, §4103,3D),

    2. A proposed driveway entering a town or private road in subdivisions meets the sight distances indicated in Vassalboro’s Road Ordinance for driveway curb cuts or 10 feet for every posted mph and the driveway entrance is a minimum of 75 feet from road intersections,

    3. Wastewater disposal is permitted, adequately sized, and meets the state plumbing code,

    4. A permit for internal plumbing, as required, is issued at the same time as the application for the building permit, and

    5. The building site has been inspected as required in Section 10 of this Ordinance.

    6. Setbacks for structures - A minimum setback of 10 feet from property lines and 25 feet from the edge of the right of way of any town and state road or private road within a subdivision shall be maintained for all new structures and structure additions permitted as of the effective date of this ordinance, except setback distances for reconstructions or replacements of structures that existed prior to the effective date of this ordinance shall meet these setback distances to the greatest extent practical. Where the road right of way cannot be established, a required setback of 50 feet measured from the centerline of the traveled road shall be used.

    7. Setbacks for subsurface wastewater disposal systems – A minimum setback of 50 feet from property boundaries shall be maintained for all new subsurface wastewater disposal systems including the leach field and septic tank. Replacement systems shall meet this setback requirement to the greatest extent practical.

    8. A building permit shall not be issued prior to obtaining required permitting from the Town for Shoreland Zoning, Subdivision or Site Review, and required state and federal permitting. If the proposed construction or alteration is in conflict with this ordinance a permit shall not be issued until such conflict has been removed. A building permit shall not be issued within any subdivision that is not in compliance with all local ordinances and state laws.

    3. Additional requirements for manufacturing housing - A permit to place a manufactured housing unit (as defined in Title 10 M.R.S.A. Chapter 951 §9002 and §9061) on individual housing lots, on undeveloped lots where single-family dwellings are allowed shall be issued only if the following conditions have been met:

    1. The manufactured home must have a pitched roof prior to be located on-site. A pitched roof is defined as a roof with a pitch of 2 or more vertical units for every 12 horizontal units of measurement and which is covered with asphalt or fiberglass composition shingles or other materials, but specifically excludes corrugated metal roofing material,

    2. The manufactured home has an exterior siding that is residential in appearance but this exterior siding shall not consist of vertical metal siding, and

    3. The permit applicant provides proof of payment of property taxes on any mobile moved from another town in the municipality where the home was formerly located (MRSA, Title 30-A, Chapter 185, §4103, 3C)

    4. Manufactured homes located within the legal borders of the Town of Vassalboro as of the date of the adoption of this Ordinance do not have to meet the above requirements in (a), (b), and (c) if they are being re-located within the Town of Vassalboro.
  1. Procedure for Administering Permits – All permits shall be approved or denied in writing as soon as practical but not more than seven days after receiving a completed application. Permits shall not be denied if found to be in conformance with this Ordinance except permits not issued within seven days of receiving an application are automatically denied. Permits may be subjected to reasonable conditions to insure conformity of this Ordinance and other local and state laws. If a permit is denied, the reasons for denial will be stated in writing. An appeal from any approval or denial shall be made within 30 days of the approval or denial.

  1. Term of Permit - All building permits shall be void unless work is commenced and at least 30% of the estimated total cost of the building, including exterior siding, is complete within two (2) years from the date of approval. 

  1. Permit Modification - Any modifications to the description or scope of the project above and beyond minimal changes shall require a revised permit application, payment of an additional one-half of the application fee, and a permit prior to beginning the work.

  1. Permit Fees - Permit fees for building in the Town of Vassalboro will be set by the Selectmen. The Planning Board shall make recommendations to the Selectmen. The fee structure will be reviewed annually by both bodies.

Fees shall be paid to the Municipal Treasurer. If any person, including any owner, and contractor, or any authorized agent, fails to obtain any permit in accordance with the Ordinance until after the work has begun, then the fees set forth above shall be three (3) times the regular permit fee, in addition to any enforcement action that may be taken.


Under the authority of the Maine Erosion and Sediment Control Law (Title 38, Chapter 3 §420-C), the Code Enforcement Officer shall require erosion control measures, whenever filling displacing, excavating or exposing soil and earthen materials will occur at the building site. All erosion control methods shall be consistent with DEP’s Maine Erosion and Sediment Control Best Management Practices Manual for construction sites (DEPLW0588, March 2003) or any updated version of this document. Erosion control measures must be in place before construction and any disturbance of soil begins and must remain in place until the site is permanently stabilized.


An inspection of the site will be made by the Code Enforcement Officer prior to issuing a building permit to assure compliance with driveway entrance distances, if applicable, and to determine the necessary erosion control measures whenever filling, displacing, excavating or exposing soil and earthen materials will occur at the building site.

Before any building can be occupied as a residential dwelling, it must have the inspection and approval of the Code Enforcement Officer to assure that:

  1. There is an approved method for on-site wastewater disposal installed with a minimum of one working toilet and sink,

  2. The inspections required for internal plumbing and subsurface wastewater disposal have been done by the Local Plumbing Inspector.

  3. Proof is provided that all electrical wiring in a newly constructed residence has been installed or inspected by a master electrician, state electrical inspector, or an appropriate state certified electrical inspector

  4. Erosion control measures are consistent with requirements stated in Section 9 of this Ordinance,

  5. There is a permanent heat source and a minimum of one smoke detector,

  6. New homeowners shall be required to place in a location visible to the road, numerals four inches (4”) in height to identify the building for emergency purposes. If applicable, the mailbox of the residence will have identifying numerals on both sides of at least four inches (4”) in height, and

  7. Overall conditions of safety and sanitation are met.

An occupancy certificate shall be issued. Buildings occupied without the required inspection shall be subject to enforcement action as indicated in Section 11 of this Ordinance


The Code Enforcement Officer shall enforce this ordinance and initiate all procedures and actions through the Municipal Officers. Any person found guilty of violating any provision of this ordinance shall be subject to a fine of not less than $100.00 for each offense nor more than $2,500.00. Each day such violation exists shall constitute a separate offense. All fines shall be paid to the Town of Vassalboro. Such persons shall also be liable for court costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Town of Vassalboro in the event of the necessity of such actions.


The Code Enforcement Officer or his/her assistant, in the performance of his/her duties, may enter any building during construction for the purpose of making the inspection required by this code with proper notification to the owner(s). 


Appeal for the decision of the Code Enforcement Officer shall be made to the Board of Appeals and from the Board of Appeals to Superior Court. Such appeal shall be filed within thirty (30) days of the date of the order being appealed.


With the enactment of this ordinance, the Building Permit Ordinance of June 2005 as amended is repealed.


  1. Addition – A change in the existing building footprint or volume as measured from the exterior of the building.

  2. Bedroom – Any room within a residential dwelling unit that has a closet and a means of outside egress, such as a window or any room that is used primarily as sleeping quarters.

  3. Driveway – A vehicular access way less than five hundred (500) feet, horizontal distance, in length serving two residential dwelling units or fewer.

  4. Major Reconstruction - The replacement or alteration of an existing building or part thereof which results in an estimated fair market value of $1000 or more for the replacement or alteration excluding normal building maintenance. The actual cost of materials may be substituted for fair market value when it is difficult to determine the fair market value.

  5. Minor Reconstruction – The replacement or alteration of an existing interior or exterior part of the building without changing the building footprint or volume which results in an estimated fair market value of less than $1000 for the replacement or alteration. The actual cost of materials may be substituted for fair market value when it is difficult to determine the fair market value.

  6. Residential Dwelling Unit – A room or group of rooms designed and equipped exclusively for use as permanent, seasonal, or temporary living quarters for only one family at a time and containing cooking, sleeping, and toilet facilities regardless of the time period rented. Recreational vehicles are not residential dwelling units.

  7. Setback – The minimum horizontal distance from a lot property line or the edge of a road right of way to the nearest part of any new structure.

  8. Temporary Garage or Storage Shed – A building without a permanent foundation that is primarily constructed of materials other than wood or masonry products.