Androscoggin Valley Municipal Solar Forum
On Tuesday, January 12, Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) hosted an online forum about municipal solar in Maine.
Chris Byers - Boyle and Associates
Andrew Kahrl - Revision Energy
Nick Lund - Maine Audubon
Todd Martin - Natural Resources Council of Maine
Joe Roach - Rangeley Town Manager
Click here to watch a recording of the forum.
In the 129th Legislative Session, Public Law 391 was revised (LD 1509). This makes MUBEC apply state-wide regardless of population. This took effect September 19, 2019. AVCOG has been trying to get clarification from the State Fire Marshal’s Office (and presumably the AG’s Office) on conflicting advice received from MMA and the Fire Marshal’s Office. Unfortunately clarification is still not available as we head into town meeting season. What we do know is that MUBEC now applies to towns less than 4,000 in population, however, enforcement is still optional in those municipalities. Builders must build to this code state-wide. Municipalities under 4,000 can choose to enforce the code, and if they want to they can choose to do so completely (building and energy) or just building or just energy. They can also choose whether inspections are to be done in-house or third party. Code Officers that are going to do these inspections will need to be certified.
A town many not adopt or enforce any other building code than the Maine Uniform Building Code, the Maine Uniform Energy Code, or the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code. This means that a town that does not choose to enforce the Maine Building or Energy Codes needs to delete references to a town building permit and issue a land use or zoning permit instead. If not enforcing MUBEC then a permit is only being issued based on location, dimensional and zoning requirements, and so forth, not construction. It would be misleading to call this permit a building permit. We recommend that any permit and/or application also include language that the design and construction are required to meet MUBEC standards but the town does not inspect or enforce these requirements, or other similar language that makes it clear what is required and that the town permit does not indicate compliance with these requirements.
A town that wants to enforce MUBEC is being advised to adopt it by reference, and state the town’s intent to enforce and extent of enforcement such as energy only, building only, both, etc. Please refer to 30-A M.R.S. Section 3003(2) for guidance on adoption of codes by reference. http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/30-A/title30-Asec3003.html
For MMA members, their website has a sample ordinance for adopting a code by reference as well. Log in and then go to “Member Center,” then Ordinances and Charters, then Ordinances, then Building, then “adopting_code.”
We expect this will raise more questions, among them, can a Code Officer enforce MUBEC while in the process of getting certified or is third-party certification required in the meantime? The State Fire Marshal’s Office now handles Code Enforcement Officer certification, please contact Rich McCarthy for more information on this issue, or see their website: https://www.maine.gov/dps/fmo/building-codes/code-enforcement