Frequently Asked Questions

For Applicants

The application deadline is the first Wednesday of each month. Typically, the volunteer commission board meets on the fourth Wednesday of the same month to discuss those applications received and render decisions. A final written permit is usually in the mail within 10 to 14 business days after the meeting.

The Commission has a reconsideration process for those applicants dissatisfied with the Commission’s final decision regarding their project. Within 30 days from that date of issuance, applicants may file a written petition for reconsideration with the Commission that includes specific reasons for the request to reconsider. The Commission must act upon such petition within 60 days. Details of this process are available by contacting the Commission office or by downloading a copy of Chapter 101: Regulations for the Processing of Applications for Permits, Variances, or Certificates of Compliance.

An agent is someone who files the paperwork with this Commission on behalf of the property owner. This person is not necessarily the real estate agent who may be involved with the property purchase. Sometimes, out-of-state residents have their contractors handle all the necessary paperwork to secure any required permits.

The applicant is required to send notice of the proposed development to the following people:

  • All abutting land owners,
  • All property owners within 500 feet of the proposed use (250 feet in Lake Arrowhead and Camp Ellis, Saco),
  • The municipal selectboard, and
  • The municipal planning board.

This list includes property owners across streets and water. The Commission provides the form that must be mailed out as part of the application. It is the applicant’s responsibility to obtain all names and addresses through the respective municipality, to mail out the notices appropriately, and to provide adequate documentation proving the notices have been done correctly. The Certificate of Mailing is a United States Post Office service that is much less expensive than certified mail. Your local post office can provide additional information upon request.

The date you file the application is the date this office receives your application. It is not the date of the commission meeting when the commissioners will be making their decision. All recipients of your certificate of mailings have 14 days from the date of filing to respond. If this date is filled in incorrectly on the form, your application may be delayed for another month.

No. You only pay one fee for the largest aspect of your project. In this case, you would only pay the fee for a residence.

No. Site plans can be drawn by the applicant. The Commission provides a sample site plan and guidelines for preparing site plans with all applications handed out. The site plan must be to scale and include lot dimensions, abutting roads, dimensions of all proposed development, and setback measurements from lot lines, accepted roads, the normal or mean high water line, and legally existing structures on neighboring lots. For an example, download our sample site plan.

Please contact the office. We’re happy to help you with the application process or with general information about the commission.

Complete details on the process are located on our hardship variance page.

Please contact the staff if you have any questions regarding whether the activity you are seeking to undertake requires a permit.

If you are undertaking any development project, which is defined by the Act as the carrying out of any significant earthmoving, grading, dredging, filling, building, construction, or mining operation or the alteration of a shore, bank, or floodplain, then a permit is likely required from the Commission. Permits are required for structures, which are defined as any object of significant nature constructed or erected with a fixed location on or in the ground, or attached to something having a fixed location or in the ground (ex. buildings, mobile homes, walls, fences, billboards, signs, piers and floats).

Section 957-A of the the Saco River Corridor Act (applicable to all land use districts within the Corridor) outlines uses or activities for which no permit is required from the Commission. These include:

  • Open space uses which do not involve development including erosion and flood control, parks, game management, harvesting of cranberries and wild crops,  tent camping, picnic areas, fishing, hunting, and other forms of outdoor recreation compatible with the purposes of the Resource Protection District.
  • Piers, docks and floats in compliance with state and federal requirements and applicable performance standrads
  • Forestry, agriculture, horticultural and aquacultural uses not involving development
  • Maintenance, reconstruction, or relocation of existing public ways or bridges


However, it goes on to state that permits are required for:

  • Structures related, necessary and accessory to the uses for which no permit is required
  • Dredging, filling or alteration of wetlands related necessary and accessory to permitted uses
  • Any fill or deposition of material related and accessory to permitted uses
  • Sand, gravel and topsoil excavations
  • Necessary expansion or enlargement of nonconforming uses
  • Reconstruction of nonconforming structures damaged or destroyed by casualty


Section 957-B (applicable to the Limited Residential District) and Section 957-C (applicable to the General Development District) outline general categories of additional activities and uses that require permits from the Commission.


For Permit Holders

After receiving a Saco River Corridor Commission (SRCC) permit, you need to visit your local code enforcement officer for any permits required by the municipality. Those of you who live in the Lake Arrowhead Community will also need to visit the community office to receive information about any permits needed from them. In most cases, you should obtain an SRCC permit first, as our standards tend to be more strict than other permitting agencies. There are instances where municipalities or Lake Arrowhead do not require permits for certain development activities, but this agency does. In some instances, a permit may also be required from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. As a property owner within the Saco River corridor, you are responsible for obtaining all necessary permits.

Permits granted by the Commission are valid for two years after the date of issuance. If, at the end of the two years, your project is not completed, you may request an extension for an additional two years. It is important, however, to keep in mind that in the event there are changes to the law that affect your project, the Commission will impose the new laws when reviewing your request for an extension.

A permit has been issued to you with specific dimensions and setback distances. If your project plans change and — as a result — these specifics change, you must contact the Commission office prior to implementing any changes. Many times changes are simply a note to the file and may also require you to submit an updated site plan. There are situations, however, when a change in the project requires additional Commission review. These changes also generally require the applicant to re-notify abutters of the change. Commission staff will let you know which next step is appropriate.

You may only undertake the activities specifically described in your permit. Any additional activities will require additional permitting from the Commission and will require you to complete another application.

Simply notify the office informing staff that you longer plan to construct something previously approved. We will make a note of the change to your file. This file will be considered closed. If you decide to resume the original project, you will need to obtain another permit from the commission.

Attached to your permit are standard conditions of approval. These conditions are attached to all permits issued by this agency and you are bound to comply with all eleven conditions listed. If you have any questions about these conditions, please contact the Commission office as soon as possible. In addition to the standard conditions of approval, there may be additional conditions listed on your permit. You are bound by all of these conditions as well. As the permit holder and/or land owner, you are the responsible party for any contractors who perform work on your property. We strongly advise you to inform all contractors of these conditions and any other special conditions that may have been placed on your permit.

First, read the standard conditions of approval. In summary, selective cutting of trees, as defined in the standard conditions, is allowed. There is a 75-foot no-cut zone leading inland from the shoreline, and you may never cut trees for the purpose of obtaining a view.

Driveways must not be paved unless specifically requested. If it is not clearly stated in the application you submit, driveways are considered to be gravel.

A six-foot-wide, natural, meandering pathway is allowed by permit. Any above-ground wooden stairs to help facilitate water access due to steep slopes require additional permits from the Commission.

The Saco River Corridor Act states that on the Ossipee, Little Ossipee, and freshwater portion of the Saco River, “no privately-owned pier, dock, or float shall extend more than 10% of the width of the river at any time or extend into the water more than 10 feet perpendicular to the shore, whichever is less; and shall be temporary and capable of seasonal removal.” Any docks that do not meet this requirement may be in violation of the Saco River Corridor Act.

Please mail the Notice of Completion of Construction Form (included with the original permit) to our office. If you need additional copies of this form, please contact the office or download the Notice of Completion of Construction Form. Once we receive the form, commission staff will plan to visit your site in order to perform a compliance check. We may not always call first or notify you when we plan to visit your site. If you would like to be present for the compliance check, please indicate so on the form before you return it.

Any person who holds a permit may ask for additional time to complete permitted activities if it is necessary. The Commission may grant up to two additional years. However, it is important to remember that at the time of the extension review, the Commission will adhere to the most current regulations. In the event there has been a change since your original approval date, new laws could affect your project. The most important thing to remember is to simply call the office with any changes or questions. Commission staff are here to help make the permit process a simple one.

Our responsibility is to protect the public health, safety, and quality of life for the state of Maine through our regulation process. There are fines ranging from $200 to $10,000 for those who do not comply with the Saco River Corridor Act. All monies collected by this Commission, as a result of a violation, are deposited directly into the General Fund of the State of Maine and do not benefit this agency.