Originally published in Castine Patriot, January 31, 2019
Tree harvesting regulation amendment proposed in Castine
by Monique Labbe
A public hearing was held on January 22 to discuss an amendment to the timber harvesting section of the town’s zoning ordinance to effectively give all regulation responsibility of all forestry activities within the municipality over to the Maine State Bureau of Forestry.
The amendment will be a warrant article at town meeting in May.
The change in the ordinance is to put the town in compliance with state regulations, according to Castine Town Manager Jimmy Goodson. Instead of the town having the responsibility of regulating, this would put that in the hands of people more equipped to deal with it.
“This originated with the Department of Agriculture which has taken over forestry for most of Maine towns,” said Goodson. “They told us ‘if you want us to take over timberland harvesting, you need to revise your ordinance to reflect that.’”
Selectman Peter Vogell explained that the state will regulate any tree harvesting or other forestry activities done with the intent to haul the lumber away for sale purposes after the cutting is done.
“If you hire somebody to come cut the trees down and then take them away for sale, you need to register with the state,” he said. “Even if you’re doing it yourself to sell it you need to register with the state.”
A home or property owner does not have to register with the state if they are cutting down trees to clean out their property for personal use, Goodson clarified.
The public hearing was closed in roughly 10 minutes, and during the subsequent selectmen’s meeting, the selectmen voted in favor of putting the article to vote at town meeting.