By Shelly Poulin
CARRABASSETT VALLEY ““ The Planning Board heard two proposals at its August 31 meeting, one for a proposed subdivision on Sugarloaf and the second from Maine Mountain Power LLC (MMP) for a part of its proposed wind power project.
MMP has proposed a 30-wind turbine project for nearby Black Nubble and Redington Mountain, with access roads and transmission lines located in Carrabassett Valley. The Maine Land Use Regulatory Commission (LURC) held hearings on the project last month at the Base Lodge on Sugarloaf.
The hearings were very well attended and the public at large was allowed to speak during those hearings. A determination on those hearings is expected to be received by late September or early November.
Both Harley Lee and Kerry Briggs of MMP attended the planning board meeting to discuss the project as it pertains to Carrabassett Valley. Briggs explained the project would upgrade and use existing logging roads to access the project. The plan to run 115-KV transmission lines along the town boundaries with Coplin and Wyman would include approximately two-and-one-half miles of line along those boundaries in the northwest section of town. The total cleared area would be about 50 acres, Briggs said, which includes the 75-foot wide swath needed for the lines. The actual corridor would be 150-feet wide according to the easement.
If final approval is granted from LURC and various other federal and state organizations, Briggs said he hopes to conduct road work this winter, construct the transmission lines next summer, erect the turbines in the fall of 2007 and connect to the grid shortly after that. The project, if approved, is projected to generate enough electricity to power 40,000 homes.
Briggs took the board members through an extensive plan under the town’s Site Plan Review/Conditional Use Permit process. Chair Barry London said board members would need additional time to review the entire package, but invited Briggs and Lee to come back in September. Briggs said final maps would be complete by then, and the planning board expects to hold a public hearing on the roads/transmission lines at that time.
Scott Braley returned to the board with plans for a 22-unit subdivision on Sugarloaf, to be located just south of the Birchwood subdivision, with access off the Mountainside Road. Braley first approached the board with a preliminary plan in June.
The proposed project calls for a mix of three and four-bedroom units with the possibility of nine garage units. The project also proposes 53 outdoor parking spaces and that 16 units may have wood burning stoves/fireplaces. The wood burning plan was at issue with Courtney Knapp, town fire chief, who was in attendance at the scheduled public hearing on the project. He voiced his concerns that renters and even owners of units with wood-burning appliances don’t always properly dispose of wood ashes, creating a fire hazard. Several large-scale condo fires have been linked in the past to improperly disposed of wood ash at Sugarloaf, he said. Braley said the units would all have sprinkler systems.
Planning Board members deemed there was more information needed before any approval could be given to the project. Namely, board members want the project to have a name, contain proper E-911 street names, a complete Mylar plan, DEP approval, a letter from the fire chief, a complete landscaping plan, a performance guarantee, an engineering escrow account and the addition of wood storage facilities to the lay out. Braley plans to return to the board again in September.
The Carrabassett Valley Planning Board will meet again on Thursday, October 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Office.
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