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The Penalty For Taking A Maine Woodlot Out Of Tree Growth Plan.

The Penalty For Taking A Maine Woodlot Out Of Tree Growth Plan.



The penalty for early removal of land in Maine from the tree growth property tax and management program?

What do you have for a property tax reduction by being in tree growth and what happens if the plug gets pulled before the ten year plan runs out? For starters, education on the tree growth program in Maine is needed. mt katahdin maine mountain photo

The tree growth program in Maine was created in 1972.

To protect a resource.

Yes individual land owners in Maine have property rights for their own use and enjoyment.

And the premise is not that you have to harvest woods in the ten years while the tree growth plan is underway. But just that eventually there is going to be a harvest of the Maine land.

Because of ice storms, spruce budworm, something affecting the unprotected Maine woodlot. Blow downs, dead and and dying trees with decay from insects or wildlife activity will peck away at the Maine woodlot that is neglected.

And suffering in health because no tree growth plan for growth and vitality is in place.

And for financial reasons to help pay the property taxes, other expenses too. To simply make a living in Maine and carve out an existence.

Tree growth plans.

To help guide the forested track acreage into a future harvest with thinning, pruning for recreational beauty too. Environmental protection safeguards put into place on paper first with a pledge, a realistic dream. Not just all ahout money jingling in the pocket from a harvest cutting operation on the Maine woodlot.

Sawlogs, pulpwood, chips, firewood are all wood products. The tree growth program assures the wooded land is protected, healthy stands maintained and thought is put into the care and direction the Maine woodlot is headed in the days, months, years ahead.

Over cutting, clear cuts and no rules before 1972 meant a Maine land owner was on his own with his Jonsered, Husqvarna chain saw and the skidder choker twitch cable heading to the wood yard clearing.

It was his land to do whatever he thought best. Unless polluting a nearby stream, river or Maine lake. Or if interferring with the enjoyment a neighboring land owner was able to have with their next door property.

The biggest penalty we see triggered in our job of listing and selling Maine woodlots, is land removed for a building spot. To put up a camp or cabin. One listing we are getting ready to sell that had more than one building spot designated on the paperwork. Shown on a map of the woodlot getting ready to be put on the market.

I have seen other tree growth, land management and harvest plans where no mention of a camp or cabin site is specified.

None there now, none on the horizon either. fall colors in maine photo

The Maine land owner did not think of his own personal enjoyment at camp playing cards, eating home cooked food and communing with nature. For renting one out for profit to snow sledders, hunters, fishermen. To watch over maple syrup sap running taps in the spring for the sugar shack.

Or leaf peekers, hikers, skiiers that would love and look forward to time up in the woods at the hidden Maine camp.

But the next Maine woodlot buyer has different ideas than Mr Original Woodlot owner who may have hundreds, thousands of acres of timber acreage.

The next buyer, owner wants to drag in a camper trailer, to land or build a simple structure to camp. Have a nightly fire under the stars to start family traditions. To pass on to the next generation.

So no lot provided, means a penalty in the tree growth plan to create one. Which means what would have been saved in property tax reduction can be jeopardized for early removal.

By doing the surgery in the paperwork after the fact which adds an expensive wrinkle in the fabric, kink in the hose for added enjoyment. Without tapping into the wallet for the tree growth penalty change of the original plan. maine lake sunset photo

I have seen it cost thousands of dollars in early withdrawal from tree growth and the amount showing up as a line item on the HUD-1 real estate settlement statement.

Along with other closing costs for both the buyer and seller of a Maine real estate property listing.

Often not knowing about the program and a general distrust in government makes buyers of Maine land wary.

And to want to bolt for fear of what am I getting into and just wanting to be left alone by Uncle Sam.

To keep it simple which is what Maine is all about, always has been.

Unlike where they live out of state and why they enjoy these vacations, long weekends up at camp in Maine so much. Less hassle, fewer people, low crime and zip for traffic.

More of the good stuff that is all around you outdoors in Maine all four seasons.

What is the penalty for taking a Maine woodlot out of the tree growth program it is in?

How is it figured ? This tree growth removal penalty dollar amount. And why would anyone take a Maine woodlot out of tree growth? Unless they wanted to clear the terrain, level the trees and put in a commercial shopping mall.

To severely alter the original use now into something with lots of pavement. In small rural areas, with less people, that kind of development is not a daily occurence in Maine.

The lower property tax incentive on Maine land and guiding the woodlot timber growth using a best practices approach to management . Those are the two big reasons for being in the tree growth plan in the first place. More on the tree growth in Maine program.

But back to the penalty when you say no more, where do I pay the fine and settle up. Why there would be a reason to remove the woodlot from the tree growth protection?

If the original forestry plan on a property you bought shows all the Maine land in the tree growth plan, we have a big problem. If you decide you want to put up a sporting recreational camp and the auxillary sheds for firewood, the toys you use out in the woods.

The original plan for the woodlot did not provide for that construction. No acre was designated on the woodlot tree growth plan. No mention of the do’s and don’t for the Maine land under tree growth protection made the report.

I read a forestry plan yesterday for a new woodlot in Maine that was loaded with information.

Get the plan in place before you buy, and to know the objectives for the Maine land you are taking title to and so you know the mission statement. To know like this plan had there were three possible camp sites excluded from the tree growth jargon. maine loons in maine photo

In some cases where the building spot is does not get a red circle and big “X”. Is not specified.

But the total property acreage but with one less acre than the total quanity is reserved.

To be determined with some latitude in the plan.

Probably in case a soil test for black and gray water disposal is needed.To add to the enjoyment and make the spot more than a picnic table and day use only. And wherever you build a shanty if you do, to make sure the out parcel from the tree growth plan is a buildable lot. Inc ompliance with the rules of the land use.

That the set back and side lines of the excepted building lot for a camp or cabin is within the shoreland zoning regulations in Maine specifications. Building next to the waterfront should be and is dicey. Delicate business it is this shoreland zoning in Maine says Yoda.

Septic systems, development around Maine waterways is strict and should be to protect the Maine land.

The fish, wildlife in the neighborhood too. The need the help to protect where they live that is effected in a negative way if man mess it up. With improperly build roads, with removal of riparian buffers to hold the soil in place. Not dump the silt and the other debris into the Maine precious water resource.

So having to pay back the money the Maine town, plantation where the Maine woodlot  is located would have collected. What they did not get in property taxes… the penalties for removal from the tree growth plan are figured how? For starters, here is the Maine tree growth tax law county valuation chart.

From the tree growth Maine law statutes …

  1. Calculation of penalty the penalty will be an amount equal to  30% of the difference between the 100% Tree Growth valuation (of the classified  land on the assessment date immediately preceding withdrawal) and the just  value of the property on the date of withdrawal.  If the land has been classified for more than  10 years, the following percentages shall apply:

           10  years or less 30%   

   11  years  29%     

  12  years  28%   

    13  years  27%     

14  years  26%

15  years  25%

  16  years  24%  

17  years  23%

  18  years  22%  

   19  years  21%   

                    20  years or more  20%       

  1. IMPORTANT – Pursuant  to the Constitution of Maine, Article IX, section 8, the withdrawal penalty  imposed may not be less than “the tax which would have been imposed over the 5  years preceding that change of use had that real estate been assessed at its  highest and best use, less all taxes paid on that real estate over the  preceding 5 years, and interest.”

– See more at:

 So the penalty for early tree growth removal requires some answers to questions, a peek at the time line and where the property is located, how the original tax rate was arrived at for a basis. To determine the damage for Maine tree growth removal from the land management program for the forested acreage in the in maine photo

Tree growth, open space, any of the special land management classification programs in Maine require study.

And consideration of updates to the Maine laws because each legislative session nothing stays the same on the law books.

Modification, removal and a slew of new laws are always in the pipeline with the attempt to approve life in Maine.

Personally, less rules the better but more common sense and a protective attitude about Maine’s environment. That works best and it starts with your parents, the rest of the family teaching your this respect for Maine land no matter what kind it is.

Cost sharing for the Maine woodlot forestry tree growth plan, is there some funding out there to help?

Financial  assistance for preparation of forest management and harvest plans may be  available from federal and state sources.  I asked the Southern Aroostook Soil And Water Conservation staff yesterday and was told they get yearly allotments. For funding on a first come, first serve basis. So look into it. Get in line.

For this and a lot of other Maine land protection and enriching programs. I have taken advantage of the soil bank for farm land ten year program and it helps on the property tax burden when farmer field rent is missing.

Ask your Maine forester about cost-share programs, contact a Natural Resources  Conservation Service Center or call Maine Forest Service at (207)287-2791. 

File your Maine tree growth land management, forestry plan paperwork in the muncipality where the property is located prior to April 1st for consideration and to get the ten year ball rolling.

– See more at:

Enroll your Maine land for tree growth, open space, whatever the program for the right reasons.

There is concern in Maine about abuses of the property tax reduction aspect under the guise of protecting the land, the main reason the program was started. It seems to focus on tree growth in coastal Maine towns where ocean front property taxes are way way higher than the norm around the rest of Vacationland.maine ducks photo

Everyone is worried about property taxes, the first question both in state and out of state Maine real estate buyers pose at the initla contact.

Own a woodlot in Maine or want to find one you can afford that is attractive to enjoy?

That is always handy to water. The fun kind in Maine?

Or want to sell Maine land, some other property.

And looking for a Maine real estate broker with lots of experience? When you are ready. Here to help with questions and start by listening to the real estate need and to develop a plan to tackle it as professionally and smoothly as possible.

I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker

207.532.6573 | [email protected] |

MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton Maine 04730




Andrew Mooers

Welcome to our Maine real estate website. I am the father of four grown children, have listed, marketed, sold properties for over forty years. Lots of changes in the real estate industry over that many decades and daily we re-invent our job. I grew up on a Maine farm that I bought from by three older brothers. My youngest son continues in the tradition on that same Maine farm. Here to help with property searches for homes, farms, land, waterfront, multi housing rentals, small mom and pop business listings.

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