BELFAST — Councilors approved zoning amendments in several city districts that increase the number of multifamily housing units allowed on a one-acre lot at their Aug. 3 meeting.

Planning and Codes Project Planner Wayne Marshall said the Planning Board is working on more zoning amendment recommendations in an effort to entice housing development projects in the city. The city was working to encourage new housing before it became consumed with Nordic Aquafarms’ land-based fish farm permit applications. Those permits were approved late last year.

Since February, the Planning Board has stepped up efforts to analyze zoning for multifamily housing projects and make recommendations to the council that may attract developers to build such projects, he said.

At the Aug. 3 meeting councilors approved increasing the number of multifamily housing units per acre from 6 to 19  in five city districts, three of which are in East Belfast, Marshall said.

Searsport Avenue Commercial, Searsport Avenue Waterfront, a portion of Route 141 and Mill Lane, Route 137 and Route 1 south are all areas that will be affected by the amendments. They are in districts where city sewer is available to most areas.

Councilors also approved triplexes and fourplexes in districts including Searsport Avenue Commercial and Route 137, which have sections with private wells and septic systems. Previously, multifamily units were not allowed in areas not hooked up to the city sewer system and city water.

In the past the city has tried to encourage housing development in places where it has invested in the public sewer system, Marshall said. Now he believes the city can put forward standards that create safety measures for triplexes and fourplexes to run off of a subsurface sewer system.

Similar zoning amendments have been passed for parts of Congress and Wight streets, where there are three affordable housing projects in development or being considered, he said.

The changes are not expected to attract developers to the affected areas of the city immediately, but the zoning amendments are in place in case an interested developer comes along, and could encourage multifamily housing developers to build in those areas of the city, he said.

“The hope is that what we have done has created some additional opportunity to encourage the construction of multifamily housing,” Marshall said. “And it’s something that we hope has a long-term payout.”

The Planning Board is now considering what amendments can be made in rural districts in town regarding multifamily housing units, Marshall said. More amendment recommendations are expected at future council meetings.