At the March 7, 2017 Lamoine Planning Board meeting it was revealed that the MacQuinn Corporation has applied for the expansion of their Kittridge Pit which abuts (and if expanded would include) Cousins Hill near the center of town. This re-application is the result of a lawsuit and negotiated settlement explained in an earlier post. Planning Board Chairman John Holt must step down for the duration of the permitting process as a result of the settlement. The next Planning Board meeting, on March 20th (7PM, Town Hall), will be the first in the permitting process and will deal exclusively with this particular permit. According to MacQuinn representative Steve Salisbury, the paperwork of the new application exceeds the initial one by “several hundred pages”.
It is too soon to speculate when the public hearing will occur. Last time around, the application’s initial Planning Board meeting was on October 2, 2012 and the public hearing was January 8, 2013. If this same time lag applies this time, we can expect a hearing in July. But since much of the Planning Board’s work on this permit is a do-over, the hearing may happen sooner, perhaps as soon as late April or May.
This application promises to be contentious. 148 Lamoine citizens live within 1/4 mile of the proposed expansion. This works out to 9.24% of Lamoine’s population of 1,602 as per the 2010 federal census. Also within 1/4 mile are the Lamoine School, Baptist Church, Fire Station and Grange Hall. This area is the closest Lamoine has to a town center, and 124 students and staff will occupy the school during the school day.
At the January, 2013 Public Hearing on the same application, an estimated 140 Lamoine residents attended at the school gymnasium. 30-40 had to stand. Their testimony can be read here. Seven spoke in support of the permit, although one supporter expressed reservations about the depth of the proposed pit. Most supporters sited the need for jobs and gravel. Eighteen spoke in opposition and four more voiced reservations about our gravel ordinance and enforcement, urging caution. Among the opposition, the reasons sited were increased truck traffic, noise, dust, diesel fumes, wetland and wildlife impacts, possible effects on well water, clam flat effects, aesthetics, quality of life, property values, loss of recreation, visual pollution and conflict with Lamoine’s stated Comprehensive Plan. It is likely we will see the same spirited outpouring of opinions this time around.