Code Enforcement

Matthew James, Code Enforcement Officer and Local Plumbing Inspector
Email: [email protected]
Hours: Monday - Friday 9am to 4pm
Phone: 666-5531 ext. 107

The goal of the Code Enforcement Office is to work in partnership with the people of Bowdoinham by providing effective and consistent administration. The Code Enforcement Officer performs many functions, including but not limited to: Building Inspector, Plumbing Inspector, Land Use/Shoreland Zoning Officer, and E-911 Addressing Officer.

The Codes Enforcement Officer is responsible for the administration and enforcement of:

  • the Town's Land Use Ordinance,
  • the State Plumbing Code,
  • State Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules, and
  • other applicable State Laws and Rules.

A permit is required, to:

  • engage in any activity or use of land or structure requiring approval in the district in which such activity or use would occur; or
  • expand, change, or replace an existing use or structure; or
  • renew a discontinued nonconforming use; or
  • engage in the construction, alteration, relocation, demolition or replacement of any building or part thereof; or
  • perform plumbing work; or
  • create a subsurface wastewater disposal system.

Building Permit

A building permit is required to expand, change, or replace an existing use or structure; or engage in the construction, alteration, relocation, demolition or replacement of any building or part thereof.

The following activities are exempt from requiring a building permit, if the property is in compliance with all of the Town of Bowdoinham’s Ordinances, as well as all applicable Statutes, Rules, and Regulations of the State of Maine:

  1. The construction, alteration, addition, relocation, demolition, or replacement of a shed or residential accessory structure that has a total area of 150 sq ft or less.
  2. The maintenance, repair, or replacement of a portion of a building that does not involve any change in the building’s internal layout or external footprint, which includes any deck area.

Application: Code Enforcement Officer Permit

Land Use Permit

A Land Use permit is required for a wind mill, earthmoving of 100 cubic yards or more, and other agricultural/resource uses not listed in Table 5.1 of the Town's Land Use Ordinance.

Application: Code Enforcement Officer Permit

Shoreland Zoning 

The purpose of Shoreland Zoning is to further the maintenance of safe and healthful conditions; to prevent and control water pollution; to protect fish spawning grounds, aquatic life, bird and other riparian wildlife habitat; to protect buildings and lands from flooding and accelerated erosion; to protect archaeological and historic resources; to protect commercial fishing and maritime industries; to protect freshwater and coastal wetlands; to control building sites, placement of structures and land uses; to conserve natural, native vegetation along the shoreline, visual corridors and actual points of access to inland and coastal waters; to conserve natural beauty and open space; and to anticipate and respond to the impacts of development in shoreland areas.

A Shoreland Zoning Permit is required for land use activities within the Shoreland Zone. The Shoreland Zone is:

  1. All areas within 250 feet, horizontal distance, of the:
    1. normal high water line of any river
    2. upland edge of a coastal wetland, including all areas affected by tidal action
    3. upland edge of freshwater wetlands, which are
      1. Of ten or more contiguous acres; or of less than 10 contiguous acres and adjacent to a surface water body, excluding any river, stream or brook, such that in a natural state, the combined surface area is in excess of 10 acres; and
      2. Inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and for a duration sufficient to support, and which under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of wetland vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soils.
      3. Freshwater wetlands may contain small stream channels or inclusions of land that do not conform to the criteria of this definition.
  2. All land areas within 75 feet, horizontal distance, of the normal high-water line of tributary streams.
  3. The Shoreland Zone includes any structure built on, over or abutting a dock, wharf or pier, or other structure extending or located below the normal high-water line of a water body or within a freshwater or coastal wetland.

The State of Maine has manuals, guides and other resources for homeowners on their website at

Application: Code Enforcement Officer Permit, Planning Board Permit

Floodplain Management

Before any construction or other development begins within any areas of special flood hazard, a Flood Hazard Development Permit shall be obtained from the Code Enforcement Officer. In the event that proposed construction or development is located in both a floodplain and shoreland zone, a Shoreland Zoning Permit shall be obtained from the Planning Board.

Certain areas of the Town of Bowdoinham, Maine are subject to periodic flooding, causing serious damages to properties within these areas. Relief is available in the form of flood insurance as authorized by the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.  Therefore, the Town of Bowdoinham, Maine has chosen to become a participating community in the National Flood Insurance Program, and agrees to comply with the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.  

The FEMA Flood Map Service Center (MSC) is the official public source for flood hazard information produced in support of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Use the MSC to find your official flood map, access a range of other flood hazard products, and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk at

Application: Code Enforcement Officer Permit, Planning Board Permit

Site Plan Review 

A Site Plan Review permit is required for any commercial, institutional, or industrial use.  The purpose of the site plan review process is to protect public health and safety, promote educational, cultural, economic and general welfare of the community, and manage environmental impacts by assuring that non-residential and multi-family construction is designed and developed in a manner which assures that adequate provisions are made for traffic safety and access, emergency access, water supply, sewage disposal; management of stormwater, erosion and sedimentation; protection of the groundwater, wildlife habitat, fisheries, and unique natural areas; protection of historic and archaeological resources; minimizing the adverse impacts on adjacent properties; and fitting the project harmoniously into the fabric of the community.

The Code Enforcement Officer has the authority to review the following projects that are classified at Tier I projects:

  1. Home-Based Business that does not meet the Performance Standard in Article 4.E.
  2. An increase in the floor area of less than 1,000 sq ft.  This provision may only be used once in a five year period.
  3. A Home Daycare.
  4. Boarding House.
  5. Riding Arena/Boarding Stable.
  6. Home Occupation that does not meet the Performance Standards of Article 4.D.
  7. Projects involving only the installation of impervious surfaces less than 20,000 sq ft.
  8. Private Air Strips.
  9. Farm Stands.
  10. A change of use that is within the same classification (i.e. commercial, industrial, institutional)

Application: Code Enforcement Officer Permit, Site Plan Review Checklist, Planning Board Permit

Maine Septic System Permit Search

Click here to go to the septic system permit search site

E911 Addressing 

Application: E911 Addressing Application