ROCKLAND — Several residents are urging the state to hold a public hearing on the proposal by Safe Harbor Marinas to expand its marina.

Both the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the state Bureau of Parks and Lands within the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry are reviewing the proposed marina expansion.

Safe Harbor Marinas hopes to have the expansion completed within a year, with dredging to be done during the winter.

The project would include dredging an area 138,000 square feet, according to the application. The expansion of the float system would include four 150-foot long fingers to the east of the main pier; a 90-foot finger to the west; and both a 115-foot long and a 172-foot string of floats to the west.

The company held a public informational meeting, a requirement of the DEP application process July 2. Mayor Ed Glaser and Councilor Louise MacLellan-Ruf attended that meeting held at the gazebo on Safe Harbor’s property.

But residents are asking the state agencies to hold a formal public hearing so they can offer comments directly, rather than simply in writing. The Bureau of Parks and Lands is taking written public comments through Oct. 1 on the request by Safe Harbors to extend its submerged land lease with the state.

The DEP is taking written comments until the first week of November.

On Sept. 15, Christos Calivas of Rockland, who has been a spokesman for a citizen group Sensible Harbor Infrastructure Plan, said he is not taking a position yet on the expansion proposal, but said a public hearing should be held in Rockland by the state.

Joseph Steinberger of Rockland voiced concerns that the mega yachts that would use the marina would block views of the harbor.

Frederic Kellogg of Thomaston sent a letter to the submerged land coordinator, expressing his concerns.

“I am concerned, as are many others who will be named should there be a hearing, that there has been insufficient given to the interests of bathers on the nearby beaches, the owners of nearby small boats, the walkers on the existing adjacent paths, Rockland residents who enjoy the current view, the lobster fishermen who are engaged in fishing in the area, the long term impact of the use of large motor-vehicle ships that are intended for use there, the limited maneuverability of these large vessels, the need to dredge vast areas for their access currently inhabited by lobsters and fish and supported by aquatic and bird life, and the failure of the current proposal to indicate how large, fossil fuel empowered and frequently uninspected vessels with overboard discharges will be able to access the enormous proposed dock space in limited maneuverability without major impact on the Rockland harbor environment,” Kellogg said in his letter to submerged land coordinator Karen Foust.

Rockland Mayor Ed Glaser said the City Council has not discussed the issue.

Nothing has been filed with the city’s code enforcement office since none of the currently proposed development is on the land side.

Safe Harbor purchased Yachting Solutions Dec. 30, 2020, along with nearly five acres that Yachting Solutions was leasing from Rockland Harbor Park LLC.

The original marina expansion was controversial when it was first unveiled in 2018. The federal government announced in July 2018 that Yachting Solutions would receive a $1 million Boating Infrastructure Grant. Funded through taxes and fees on motorboat fuel and related equipment, the grants are administered by the National Park Service.

The concerns voiced by the public at early meetings in 2018 and 2019 were that the expanded marina would extend to the southern channel, and would block views from Harbor Park. The new plan is a scaled back one, and there is a buffer between the southern channel and the closest floats.

Bill Morong of Safe Harbors said at the July 2 public informational meeting that he was listening to the public, even though people may not have thought he was.

If state approvals are received, dredging would be done between Nov. 1 and March 31.