Town of Bethel, ME
Oxford County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Bethel 3-5-1956; amended 6-1-1997; 6-13-2001. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Floodplain management — See Ch. 105.
Shoreland zoning — See Ch. 132.
Site plan review — See Ch. 140.
Subdivision — See Ch. 150.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the safety, health, and public welfare by the control of the construction, alteration, addition, repair, removal, demolition, use and occupancy of all structures.
This chapter is created according to the powers granted to municipalities under 30-A M.R.S.A. § 3001.
The following terms as used in this chapter shall have the following meanings, unless the context indicates otherwise. All undefined terms shall have their standard dictionary meanings.
ACCESSORY BUILDING
Any detached structure used in conjunction with a residential, commercial, or industrial structure, such as a garage, shed, barn, etc.
A. 
To change the exterior appearance of a structure by the addition, deletion, or relocation of a door, window, or other feature requiring the cutting of a structural wall, roof, or floor.
B. 
To change or renovate the interior of a structure by the addition, deletion, reconstruction, or relocation of a wall, ceiling, or floor that may affect the strength of the structural members or affect fire safety requirements.
CODE
Any published compilation of regulations or enforceable standards which has been prepared by any association or organization that is nationally recognized for establishing standards in the areas set out below, or any department or agency of the federal government or the state, and includes:
A. 
Building codes.
B. 
Plumbing codes.
C. 
Electrical wiring codes.
D. 
Health or sanitation codes.
E. 
Fire prevention codes.
F. 
Flammable liquids codes.
G. 
Any other code which embraces regulations pertinent to a subject which is a proper municipal legislative matter.
DANGEROUS BUILDING
A building or structure or any portion thereof that is deemed structurally unsafe, unstable, or unsanitary; constitutes a fire hazard; is unsuitable or improper for the use or occupancy to which it is put; or constitutes a hazard to health or safety because of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence or abandonment; or is otherwise dangerous to life or property.
[Added 6-11-2003]
DWELLING UNIT
Any part of a structure which, through sale or lease, is intended for human habitation, including single-family and multifamily housing, condominiums, apartments and time-share units.
[Amended 6-11-2003;[1] 6-13-2012]
STRUCTURE
Anything constructed, erected, or placed on the ground which is permanent, temporary, or mobile for the shelter or support of persons, animals, goods, or property of any kind and which requires location in or on the ground or attachment to something on the ground. Structures include but are not limited to buildings, mobile homes, piers, floats, and storage and processing facilities. Boundary walls, fences, roads, driveways, parking areas, and flagpoles are not considered structures.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also deleted the definition of "engineered system" which immediately followed this definition.
[Amended 6-11-2003]
A. 
Before the construction, erection, alteration, or placement of any structure shall be commenced, the owner or lessee, or the architect, contractor, or builder employed by such owner or lessee, shall obtain from the Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Bethel a building permit covering such proposed work. Any interior or exterior work with a fair market value including materials and labor of less than $2,500 does not require a permit. However, all work performed must conform with the provisions of this chapter whether or not a permit is required.
[Amended 6-13-2007]
B. 
Building permits will be in two parts:
(1) 
Part A shall contain all of the information necessary to identify the building and location, including a street number, as well as all of the information to ensure that all of the necessary permits have been obtained.
(2) 
Part B shall be of a material resistant to weather. It shall have an identifying number and shall be signed by the Code Enforcement Officer. It shall be large enough to be seen from the street and shall be posted at the building site.
C. 
No building permit shall be issued until a plumbing permit and/or a subsurface waste disposal permit, if applicable, is obtained from the licensed Local Plumbing Inspector appointed by the Town of Bethel.
D. 
All building permits shall be void unless work thereunder is commenced within two years from the date of issuance. Commencement is generally accepted as the pouring of a foundation or placement of support structure for a building. The Building Inspector has the right to review the appropriateness of the permits if not completed within five years from date of issuance.
E. 
No new building or existing building which has been structurally modified so that fire safety requirements have been affected may be occupied until the Building Inspector has provided a certificate of compliance that the building has been constructed with all the proper safeguards against the catching and spreading of fire and that the proper cutoffs have been placed in the walls and floorings as required by the standards in § 96-5.
F. 
Building permits can only be transferred from the original applicant after review by the Building Inspector and the payment of an appropriate transfer fee.
[Amended 6-11-2002; 6-13-2012]
A. 
A certain document, one copy of which is on file with the Town Clerk of the Town of Bethel, being marked and designated as National Fire Protection Association No. 211, Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances, and being the version most recently adopted by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, as prepared and published by the National Fire Protection Association for regulating the construction, alteration, renovation, and installation of chimneys and fireplaces, and each and all of the regulations, provisions, conditions and terms of such National Fire Protection Association No. 211 on file in the office of the Town Clerk are hereby referred to, adopted and made a part hereof as if fully set out in this chapter.
B. 
A certain document, one copy of which is on file with the Town Clerk of the Town of Bethel, being marked and designated as National Fire Protection Association No. 101, Life Safety Code, and being the version most recently adopted by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, as prepared and published by the National Fire Protection Association for regulating the construction, alteration, renovation, and installation of fire escapes and means of egress, and each and all of the regulations, provisions, conditions and terms of such National Fire Protection Association No. 101 pertaining to fire escapes and means of egress on file in the office of the Town Clerk are hereby referred to, adopted and made a part hereof as if fully set out in this chapter.
C. 
A certain document, one copy of which is on file with the Town Clerk of the Town of Bethel, being marked and designated as National Fire Protection Association No. 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code, and being the version most recently adopted by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, as prepared and published by the National Fire Protection Association for regulating liquefied petroleum gas, and each and all of the regulations, provisions, conditions and terms of such National Fire Protection Association No. 58 pertaining to liquefied petroleum gas on file in the office of the Town Clerk are hereby referred to, adopted and made a part hereof as if fully set out in this chapter.
D. 
A certain document, one copy of which is on file with the Town Clerk of the Town of Bethel, being marked and designated as National Fire Protection Association No. 54, National Fuel Gas Code, and being the version most recently adopted by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, as prepared and published by the National Fire Protection Association for regulating general criteria for the installation and operation of gas piping and gas equipment on consumers' premises, and each and all of the regulations, provisions, conditions and terms of such National Fire Protection Association No. 54 pertaining to fuel gas on file in the office of Town Clerk are hereby referred to, adopted and made a part hereof as if fully set out in this chapter.
[Amended 6-11-2003; 6-9-2004; 6-15-2005]
A. 
All flammable liquids and hazardous material within the limits of the Town of Bethel shall be stored subject to and in conformity with the laws of the State of Maine, 25 M.R.S.A. § § 2481 to 2485, flammable liquids, and 25 M.R.S.A. § § 2101 to 2106-A, hazardous material.
B. 
The requirements of Chapter 105, Floodplain Management, and Chapter 132, Shoreland Zoning, shall apply in addition to the requirements of this chapter.
C. 
Setback requirements.
[Amended 6-13-2007]
(1) 
All buildings erected or relocated must have a minimum setback of 10 feet on all lot lines of the parcel on which they are located.
(2) 
Accessory buildings, as defined herein, on parcels of less than 40,000 square feet must have a minimum setback of 10 feet on the street line and must have a minimum setback of five feet on all other lot lines.
(3) 
A variance, as defined in § 140-12, of any of these setback requirements may be obtained from the Bethel Board of Appeals on the basis of undue hardship, as defined under 30-A M.R.S.A. § 4353(4). The Board of Appeals shall hold a public hearing and follow the process established in the BOA Rules of Procedure adopted by the Bethel Board of Selectmen.
(4) 
Setback requirements of this chapter do not apply to projects reviewed under Chapter 140, Site Plan Review.
[Added 6-10-2015]
D. 
Any new electrical service on a pole or structure shall have a manual shut-off installed on the pole or the outside of the structure, located between the meter box and the main breaker box.
E. 
For all building permits issued for construction exceeding $50,000 in value as stated in a permit application, a viable container for the lawful private disposal of all waste materials generated by permit activities shall be maintained on the parcel identified in said application, or at a separate location identified in the permit application and controlled by the permit holder.
[Added 6-14-2006; amended 6-13-2007]
[Added 6-11-2008[1]]
A. 
Purpose. The purpose of this District is to manage development and redevelopment in the recognized Bethel Historic District to conserve the District's unique architectural values and character.
[Amended 6-13-2012]
B. 
Definition of district boundaries: the general area referred to in the National Register of Historic Places as the "Broad Street Historic District" and the subsequent "Broad Street Historic District (Boundary Extension)."
(1) 
More specifically, for the purposes of administering this regulation, the Historic District is defined in terms of boundaries in the Official Bethel Historic District Map and includes the following lots, or portions thereof, as depicted on the Town of Bethel Property Maps:
(a) 
Map 7 Lot 28 (dated 1 April 2002).
(b) 
Map 25 Lots 8 through 29, 34 through 39 and 164 through 170 (dated 1 April 2002).
(c) 
Map 26 Lots 17 through 26, 28 and 29 (dated 1 April 2002).
(2) 
If a lot is more than 200 feet deep, only that portion within 200 feet of the street, as measured from the edge of the right-of-way, shall be included in the District. If a lot is at the edge of the District (i.e., no registered property on one side) and the lot extends more than 50 feet beyond the side of the registered building, the boundary will be the line perpendicular to the street, 50 feet from the side of the building.
(3) 
Official Bethel Historic District Map. The area to which this subsection is applicable is as shown on the Official Bethel Historic District Map which is made a part of this chapter.
(4) 
Certification of Official Bethel Historic District Map. The Official Bethel Historic District Map shall be certified by the attested signature of the Municipal Clerk and shall be located in the Town offices of Bethel.
(5) 
Interpretation of district boundaries. Where uncertainty exists as to the exact location of district boundary lines, the Board of Appeals shall be the final authority as to location.
(6) 
This shall also apply to any building listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
[Added 6-10-2009]
C. 
The following shall be considered in the review of any application for a building permit in the District and on the National Register of Historic Places which includes the construction of a new structure, an addition to an existing structure and/or exterior alterations to a structure; except for general upkeep and routine maintenance such as exterior painting and roof repair.
[Amended 6-10-2009]
(1) 
New structures, additions to existing structures and/or the exterior alteration of a structure shall be visually compatible with surrounding structures in terms of the following:
(a) 
The height of the proposed structure or addition to an existing structure shall be visually compatible with adjacent structures.
(b) 
The relationship of the width to the height of the front elevation shall be compatible with buildings, public ways and places to which it is visually related.
(c) 
The relationship of the width and height of windows shall be compatible with buildings, public ways and places to which it is visually related.
(d) 
The relationship of entrances and other projections to sidewalks shall be compatible with buildings, public ways and places to which it is visually related.
(e) 
The relationship of the materials, texture and color of the facade shall be visually compatible with the predominate material used in the structures to which it is visually related.
(f) 
The roof shape of the structure shall be visually compatible with the structures to which it is visually related.
(g) 
The size and mass of the structure in relation to open spaces, windows, door openings, porches, and balconies shall be visually compatible with the structures and public places to which they are visually connected.
D. 
Administration of building permits in the District and on the National Register of Historic Places.
[Amended 6-10-2009]
(1) 
The Planning Board shall review applications for building permits in the Bethel Historic District, except for general upkeep and routine maintenance such as exterior painting and roof repair, and shall issue a written finding of fact based on the above criteria. The Code Enforcement Officer may not issue a building permit until the finding of fact has been affirmed and approved by the Board.
[Amended 6-13-2012]
(2) 
Building permits issued in the District shall be subject to the following condition of approval:
“The granting of this approval is dependent upon and limited to the proposals and plans contained in the application and supporting documents submitted and affirmed to by the applicant. Any variation from these plans, proposals, and supporting documents is subject to review and approval prior to implementation.”
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former § 96-7, Waivers, as amended 6-11-2003 and 6-9-2004.
Fees charged under this chapter shall be in accordance with the Town of Bethel Fee Schedule.
A. 
Any person, firm, or corporation aggrieved by any decision of the Code Enforcement Officer in the administration of this chapter may appeal to the Bethel Board of Appeals as established under Chapter 5, Administration. Any appeal shall be written and be made within 30 days of receipt of the written decision of the Code Enforcement Officer and shall be based on the decision.
[Amended 6-11-2003]
B. 
The Board of Appeals shall follow the procedure established under §140-10A (Chapter 140, Site Plan Review) and in accordance with the process established in the Board of Appeals Rules of Procedure adopted by the Board of Selectmen.
[Amended 6-9-2004]
A. 
It shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer and/or Fire Chief to enforce the provisions of this chapter. If the Code Enforcement Officer finds that any provision of this chapter, including but not limited to any code incorporated by reference herein, is being violated, he shall notify the municipal officers. The municipal officers, or their agent, shall notify the person responsible for such violation, indicating the nature of the violation and ordering the action necessary to correct it within a certain time limit, not to exceed 90 days, including immediate discontinuance of illegal structures or work being done and the abatement of nuisance conditions.
[Amended 6-11-2008; 6-13-2012]
B. 
Any person who continues to violate any provision of this chapter after receiving notice of such violation shall be subject to prosecution for committing a civil violation and subject to penalties set forth in 30-A M.R.S.A. § 4452.
[Added 6-14-2006[1]]
This chapter may be amended by vote of a Town Meeting as provided in Chapter 5, Administration, Article VII.
[1]
Editor's Note: This enactment also repealed former § 96-11, When effective.