Variances: Maine's Undue Hardship Test Explained

So your family has been holding on to a small, vacant piece of real estate for decades. You never really got around to building anything on it and have decided now is the time to develop.  Surprise, your lot is smaller than your town’s minimum lot size for single family homes. Further, even a small house would be in violation of the town's setback requirements.  Are you completely out of luck and stuck with a useless piece of property? Not necessarily.  Some lots will be eligible for variances, which will relax zoning requirements in some circumstances.  

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Maine’s Freedom of Access Act: An essential tool for governmental accountability

State and municipal governments are constantly making decisions that impact the lives of citizens.  Commonly, the reasoning behind those decisions can be unclear.  Further, problems with the process involved in making those decisions could weaken their validity.  It is difficult to point out decision-making flaws when citizens are kept in the dark.  Governments are commonly held accountable through open government laws that allow citizens to participate and remain informed.  Here in Maine, we have the Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) to provide the public access to government information.

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