AUGUSTA — Restrictive east side zoning rules meant to regulate development that was expected to follow the 2004 construction of a third bridge across the Kennebec River in Augusta could be loosened up by city officials concerned the expected development of the area hasn’t happened.

City councilors meet Thursday to discuss relaxing the rules of the Riggs Brook Village zoning district, which is roughly centered on the Route 3 corridor near the Cushnoc Crossing Bridge on the east side of the Kennebec River and Church Hill Road.

The Riggs Brook Village zoning district was created in 2001 as city officials anticipated the area would see a development boom after the 2004 construction of the Cushnoc Crossing Bridge. They sought to ensure the area saw a mix of residential and high-quality commercial development along the corridor, which many motorists take to get to the coast via Route 3.

That development boom never came and, despite 2014 changes made to bring the area’s zoning more in line with zoning elsewhere in Augusta, the area is still largely undeveloped.

“The Riggs Brook Village zoning district was a very ambitious idea, with hopes it’d be an attractive village market area,” Mayor David Rollins said when the issue came up in conversation at last week’s Augusta City Council meeting. “It has obviously not attracted any takers. Five years ago we tried to look at it and make it less restrictive. But we’re going to revisit it again.”

The district extends nearly a mile in each direction from the intersection of Route 3 and Church Hill Road, and as far as South Belfast Avenue to the south.


Ward 4 Councilor Eric Lind proposed the city take another look at the zoning rules in that area, saying they are outdated and too restrictive.

Readfield resident Corey Wilson, a former city councilor until he resigned earlier this year, expressed frustration last week with the Riggs Brook zoning rules, which he said he’s being required to follow to convert a former warehouse building in the zone to his proposed all terrain vehicle sales and service business. That is not currently an allowed use in the zone, but would become a conditional use, requiring Planning Board approval, under another proposed zoning change.

Even with that change, he said he’ll still be required to make extensive changes to the building, at a cost of up to $70,000 of work to the existing building. He acknowledged the building is ugly and said he wants to improve its appearance, but the Riggs Brook standards are too high to make it an affordable project.

“At this point I’m pretty frustrated,” Wilson said. “If I can’t forgo these requirements, I’m just going to go somewhere else and build a building from scratch.”

He said the Riggs Brooks Village zoning standards “are just crazy” and praised councilors when he learned they are going to look into changing them.

Councilors meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, in council chambers at Augusta City Center.


Councilors are also scheduled to:

• discuss set-back requirements for garbage disposal containers

• review contract zone standards

• discuss applying for grant funds which would require city matching funds of at least 50%, estimated to be between $5,000 and $7,000 each, to install two electric vehicle charging stations

• discuss a state Bicentennial Grant of $10,000 to create a native plants garden at Lithgow Public Library

• discuss the sale of tax acquired properties on Lone Indian Trial and Tracy Street

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