Lincolnville residents fear loss of vegetative buffer near new fire station site
LINCOLNVILLE — Neighbors of a possible new fire station on the Beach Road (Route 173) in Lincolnville are concerned that any vegetation cutting will adversely affect them with lights and noise. They want assurance that no clearing will occur before the town processes a site plan review for a new station. Selectmen will address the topic this evening at a regularly scheduled meeting, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Lincolnville Central School.
Neighbor Krystal Coombs contacted town officials and the Lincolnville Planning Board about the issue and said in an email to Planning Board Chairman Lois Lyman: “The existing canopy of trees will offer surrounding neighbors the most protection from the lights that will ultimately exist. David Kinney and Peter Rollins offered assurances that all good neighbor standards set forth in the site review plan will be followed so they should welcome a site visit by the planning board to evaluate the property at the time of purchase. Due to the fact that this will now be town property and the intent has been stated, I feel that all due diligence is necessary.”
Lincolnville residents voted 42 to 18 Oct. 28 to accept the gift of $45,000 to the town from the nonprofit Lincolnville Volunteer Fire Department to purchase three acres on Beach Road. The goal is to eventually build a new fire station there for the coastal area of town.
Several neighbors wrote to Town Administrator David Kinney, asking to be placed on this evening’s agenda. Coombs, Wade Graham, Sandy Lehman and Bob Payne wrote: “We, the direct abutters to the newly acquired town parcel located at Map 28/lot 78, are seeking definitive assurances that there will be no clearing, cutting or other disturbances to this lot until there has been town approval to build a fire station and all permitting is in place. We feel this is a neighborly approach. We are concerned that too much of the existing tree stand may be removed. There will be an adverse effect on our neighborhood if these mature trees are removed.”
At the Oct. 28 meeting, Lincolnville firefighters said they did not know when a new fire station would be constructed, but it would probably not be within the coming year.
In his Nov. 12 pre-meeting newsletter to the selectmen, Kinney said that the gift letter to the town from the nonprofit Lincolnville Volunteer Fire Department, “set forth any gift conditions including that the LVFD, Inc., ‘would like to provide input on the disposition of the wood if the Town acquires the property.’ This Board could choose to offer assurance to these neighbors, provided it does not contradict what was agreed to with the LVFD in their gift offer/acceptance. It is important to note that what this Board promises to any citizen can be undone by this Board or any other subsequent Board. I’m not suggesting that this would be done or should be done but I want everyone to be aware of this fact.”
Planning Board Chairman Lyman responded to Coombs, saying it was inappropriate for the board to weigh in on a project that has yet to materialize in submitted plans.
“Although we let the public speak as a policy, we would not do so unless the plan were on the agenda for that night,” she wrote. “To do so without inviting a representative of the Fire Department could be considered unfair to them as an applicant and could put the town in a compromising position.
“The Site Plan Review does provide in section 2.1 (p. 48) that “...a person who has right, title or interest in a parcel of land ... must obtain site plan approval before obtaining a building or plumbing permit, undertaking any alteration or improvement of the site, including grubbing, or prior to commencing [there follows a list of activities requiring review, including ]... (d) the establishment of a new nonresidential use...” Such activity would result in the town’s charging double fees for the application, which in this case would be a considerable sum.
“The fire department is already aware that buffering is a serious concern for the Planning Board. Its last building was constructed in a completely empty field to begin with: they did not remove any vegetation and there was much discussion about planting a buffer, despite the fact that their neighbor specifically did not want a buffer. In this case, they would probably be asked to replace the vegetation if removed.”
She said that when an application arrives for the fire station, everyone within 500 feet of the site will be notified.
In other town business, the selectmen this evening will:
1) Hear from Will Brown about Gateway 1, the Route 1 transportation initiative that was shelved by the current LePage administration.
2) Consider accepting resignation of Shane Lydon from the Harbor Committee and consider appointing Justin Blake to the same committee.
3) Consider appointing Chris Osgood as an alternate to the Gateway 1 group.
4) Consider appointing Terry Moulton as regular (she is currently an alternate) member of the Board of Appeals.
5) Convene as the board of assessors and consider a tax abatement of $14.96 for Gerald H. Chalmers.
Editorial Director Lynda Clancy can be reached at email@example.com; 207-706-6657.