Growth Management Law Change Growth Management Law Change

Model Ordinances

Some of the Regional Planning elements of GROWashington-Aroostook will be implemented with new/revised local ordinances. The Washington County Council of Governments has provided information and links to model ordinances on several subject areas below that can be customized for use by individual municipalities:

Local Food and GMO

Energy Efficiency

Accessory Housing

Flood and Hazard Resilience


Local Food and GMO/GEO (Genetically Modified Organisms/Genetically Engineering Organisms)

Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinances

Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinances links to an article prepared by the Food Rights Network, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy. The article provides a comprehensive source for the text and status of local food and self-governance ordinances in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont and California. First drafted in four towns in Hancock County, Maine, are town ordinances establishing local food governance in response to increased federal regulation via the "Food Safety Modernization Act." The article also provides information and links to Maine state legislation, challenges to the ordinances and Maine legislation to deregulate small scale raw milk production.


Food Access Planning from the American Planning Association

Results of this November 2012 research study are compiled into a comprehensive, free, policy report, Planning for Food Access and Community-Based Food Systems: A National Scan and Evaluation of Local Comprehensive and Sustainability Plans (NOTE 6.6MB PDF). In 2010, APA's Planning and Community Health Research Center conducted a national, web-based survey of planning directors and other individuals responsible for planning at the local government level to identify and inventory draft and adopted comprehensive and sustainability plans that explicitly address food access and other aspects of the food system.

A total of 888 valid responses from local governments in the U.S. were collected regarding: the location of the food system components in the plan; data and data collection tools used to identify and understand the extent of food systems issues; level of involvement of stakeholders in food systems planning; successes and challenges in developing the food system components of the plan; and impact of the plan on food access and the larger food system.

GMO-Free Farming Ordinances

Meyer, H. 2007. GMO-Free Regions Manual: Case Studies from Around the World; IFOAM. A detailed research report on the models of GMO regulation in the US, South America, Europe, New Zealand and the Phillipines. Includes political and legal background, voluntary declarations, challenges and successes. Also provides example ordinances, campaigns and reference documents.

From Mendocino County, CA - According to the ordinance, it is "unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to propagate, cultivate, raise, or grow genetically modified organisms in Mendocino County." The ordinance, entitled Measure H, was passed by referendum on March 2, 2004. The measure is careful to define transgenic-organisms as dependent on biotechnology as opposed to traditional methods of selective breeding. It also excludes micro-organisms from the prohibition. The complex geographic and spatial dimensions of the issue are highlighted by the fact that the ordinance only affects unincorporated areas of the county. City, state, federal and tribal lands are exempt from the prohibition and are free to grow and distribute GEOs.

Town of Montville, ME GMO-Free Ordinance
Humbolt County, CA Genetic Contamination Prevention Ordinance

To Top of Page


Energy Efficiency

Residential Energy Conservation Ordinances (RECO Models)

To meet the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, local governments are exploring a variety of policy tools to capture efficiency improvements to the existing building inventory. One of those tools may be the Energy Conservation Ordinance (ECO), which provides a means for improving the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings. ECOs typically require property owners to implement specific measures to reduce energy and water use where a property does not meet a minimum standard. There are six cities in the U.S. that currently have RECOs, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Davis, CA; Burlington, VT; and Ann Arbor, MI; and one state, Wisconsin. Download Fact Sheet here from the Leadership Institute on Ecology and Economy and the Accountable Development Coalition.


Green Retrofit Information

United States Green Builder's Council - Green Home Guide - Green Retrofit Checklist

The National Housing Performance Council 2010 Report - Residential Energy Efficiency Audit Programs in the US - Financing, Audits and Other Program Characteristics


SmartRegs Ordinance for Apartment Energy Efficiency Upgrades

SmartRegs requirements were adopted to meet the City of Boulder’s sustainability objectives including environmental health, economic vitality and social equity. According to current statistics, rental properties comprise approximately 50 percent of Boulder’s housing stock. Therefore, by requiring property owners to upgrade rental properties, the SmartRegs program aids in advancing Boulder’s community sustainability objectives, and will hopefully result in lower energy bills for tenants. Download case study analysis here.


Retrofits in Senior Citizen Apartments to Improve Quality of Life - Mount Sterling, KY

Energy efficiency rehab to Main Cross Apartments helps save low-income seniors money on rising utility bill.

To Top of Page


Accessory Housing

Accessory Housing Ordinances and State Acts

The Public Policy Institute of the AARP asked the American Planning Association (APA) to develop model legislation (a state statute and a local ordinance) that would assist AARP volunteer leaders and other interested citizens, planners, and government officials in evaluating potential changes to state laws and local zoning ordinances to encourage the wider availability of Accessory Dwelling Units. The APA is the nation’s leading source of information on planning and zoning practices. The authors have drawn heavily from the experiences of states and localities in developing the model legislation. As a result, many of the provisions incorporated in the model legislation have been tested in different communities and proven successful in actual practice. Download the Model State Act and Local Ordinance for Accessory Dwelling Units here.


Accessory Apartments: An Affordable Housing Strategy

Maine’s aging population wants to stay in their homes, but taxes and maintenance costs make this difficult. Allowing accessory apartments can provide a solution to this problem. Download Fact Sheet from GrowSmart Maine here.


Accessory Apartments - Sample Ordinance – Barnstable, MA

Article LXV, adopted November 16, 2000: Comprehensive Permits for Pre-Existing and Unpermitted Dwelling Units and for New Dwelling Units in Existing Structures

To Top of Page


Flood and Hazard Resilience

State of Maine

Floodplain Ordinance Webpage – Which ordinance is right for my town?

State of Maine – Coastal Communities Floodplain Ordinance – Sample


Municipal Ordinances examples - Maine
Floodplain Ordinance – Norway, Maine


Other (northern) State Models

The Minnesota DNR Floodplain Management Program has developed a variety of sample ordinances for use by communities. The ordinance your community should use will depend on the type of maps prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for your community, the types of flood zones shown on those maps, and the level of development that exists or could occur in floodplain areas.  The sample ordinances were updated in 2013. Flood Zone Ordinances - Minnesota

Flood Hazard Areas – Model Ordinance – Indiana

To Top of Page


If you would like to arrange training for your municipal Planning Board, Comprehensive Plan Committee, Code Enforcement Officer or other municipal officials on the use of these models or the on-line Parcel Viewer or Planners Mapping tool please contact Judy East (454-0464).