CAMDEN — Planning Board Chair Ethan Shaw said he was inclined to ask for a biological study of a wooded property at 440 Belfast Road before signing off on a plan to build nine new cabins as year-round condominiums in a 10-lot subdivision.

It was noted in the Jan. 12 meeting that the project proposed by NordHavn Camden, LLC is located near Camden Hills State Park and Spring Brook cuts through the parcel. In addition, a large part of it has been identified as a deer wintering yard.

Engineer Andrew Hedrich of Gartley & Dorsky presented the plans. He was there with Edward Hansen of NordHavn, Bob Brown and architect Joseph Russillo.

Hedrich said the project had already been vetted by the state’s best-known expert, biologist Keel Kemper, and no further study was needed. He and the developers argued the timing of the project was critical. They hoped to get through the permitting during the winter and move on to construction of the access roads by spring or summer.

During the discussion, Hedrich acknowledged this may be the first phase of a larger subdivision if the condominiums sell well, adding the ordinance allows up to 32 units.

“I think that would have been helpful information at the outset,” Shaw said.

Hedrich argued there are no firm plans yet for expansion beyond the nine proposed and that the information was indicated by the ordinance allowing more. “We had no intention of hiding anything,” he said.

Shaw said he was concerned that with one parcel developed and then another, the habitat could be taken little by little in a death by a thousand cuts. He felt more information from a biologist would help in determining if they were doing enough to protect the ecosystem and meet requirements under the law.

The board voted to require a third-party review of the status of trout and deer on the property.

Hedrich asked who could provide that review and what certifications they would need. Shaw said it should come from a wildlife biologist.

Hedrich continued to argue that had already been done when Kemper had told him no such study was needed. He also argued that any biologist they found would just end up calling Kemper and that this meant going in a circle on the project.

The board members indicated they might be satisfied with further information from Kemper, and Hedrich said he would seek a letter from Kemper.

The project is proposed on a 43-acre parcel. The plan is to build cabins ranging from 1,000 to 1,600 square feet that would blend into the natural surroundings, and larger trees would be preserved. The project includes a sauna and hot tub. Some blasting might be involved, Hedrich said.

The cabins are intended to serve as year-round residences, though some with ocean views may be used seasonally by the owners.

The company would need to put in a new access road. It hopes to obtain a waiver to make that road narrower in one spot than requirements in the ordinance, and part of the project will involve improvements to an existing road that is too close to Spring Book under the ordinance. That too would need a waiver.

Hedrich said one part of the land may have been used in a mining operation in the past. There were holes and ravines indicating material had been taken out of the land there.

While nine new cabins are planned for construction, it is a 10-lot project due to one already existing building.

The meeting covered the preapplication process for the project and a public information session.

The board plans a site walk for Jan. 20 and a public hearing on the project March 1.