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New environmental cleanup costs detailed for tannery lot

By Susan Mustapich | Feb 25, 2021
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Removal of an old stone foundation at a cost of $12,000 is one item on a comprehensive list of environmental remediation costs for the former tannery property and riverbank.

CAMDEN — The Select Board plans to meet March 9 to discuss and possibly decide on sending a development proposal for the former tannery property to a June vote.

The board will also hold a March 8 meeting for public comment on the four proposals.

These two meeting dates, and a list of tasks to be completed before March 9, were discussed at the Feb. 23 Select Board meeting.

Four proposals to develop the town-owned lot on Washington Street were received at the end of October. The Community Economic Development Advisory Committee reviewed the proposals and delivered their report the first week of January.

Board members held a workshop Feb. 16, where they met over Zoom with representatives who presented their proposals and answered questions.

However, the Select Board has not yet held its own discussion on the proposals.

Board member Taylor Benzie sees the need for a two to three hour discussion March 9 in order to move forward. The two-hour workshop was very efficient, he said, but did not answer every question.

Board member Marc Ratner asked for clarification on new information that has come to his attention.

There was discussion about putting all four proposals to a town vote, he said. But he is now aware Town Attorney Bill Kelly has said that is not possible, and the board needs to pick one proposal for a public vote.

New information on significantly higher cleanup costs for the tannery lot, more than a grant the town has for this purpose can cover, is the other issue Ratner brought up.

Planning and Development Director Jeremy Martin said the total remediation costs range from around $500,000 up to $800,000. Some of these costs are included in developer’s proposals, he said. About $160,000 remains of a Brownfield grant awarded to the town several years ago.

Board member Jenna Lookner wants additional information from proposers, and believes community members will have more questions. Vice Chairwoman Alison McKellar said the town had not finished compiling all the questions received from residents so far, and providing written responses.

Board members will submit another round of questions to the proposers, with responses requested by March 5.

Board Chairman Bob Falciani agreed that before the board meets March 9, it will need clear information on both of the issues raised by Ratner. He also wanted to make sure questions submitted by the public for the workshop have been compiled.

From Bill Kelly, he wants to know “why and what statutes cause us a problem going with more than one option on the ballot.”

He asked Martin “to put the final touch on the position paper on the four proposals and their relative pros and cons regarding the cleanup of the site in terms of its overall cost and feasibility.”

A draft document shows estimated costs for five environmental remediation scenarios for the tannery property. The information was prepared by Ransom Consulting.

The scenarios list specific remediation costs that could be associated with the four development proposals. Also listed are additional town costs for cover systems, which vary from one proposal to another, and a static cost of $10,000 in storm water and erosion controls for each.

For the Cranesport industrial eco-village proposal with workshop buildings and a large post and beam barn for the Camden Farmers’ Market, the majority of $468,500 in remediation costs are for excavation, transportation and removal of contaminated soil. The town's cost is $10,000 for the cover system.

For the Northland/Dovetail proposal to build 35 or more apartments with rents made affordable to households with incomes in the $25,000 to $45,000 range, remediation costs are listed as $437,500. The majority of that is for excavation, transportation and removal of contaminated soil. The town’s cost is $55,000 for the cover system.

For the Friends of Tannery Park proposal to develop through fundraising, a multi-use park with recreational features and a pavilion for the Farmers’ Market, remediated costs are $86,025. The bulk of the costs are for transportation and disposal of excavated soil, and a final cover system for the property. The town’s cost is $90,000 for the cover system and erosion controls.

For the Mid-Coast Habitat for Humanity proposal to build three, affordable single-family homes, remediation costs are $63,025. The bulk of the cost is for transportation and disposal of excavated soil, and a final cover system.

A fifth scenario presents the estimated cost of $164,000 for an interim soil cover of clean fill, with no development on the property. The town’s cost is $100,000 for the cover system.

Included on the matrix of costs for each proposal is $204,480 in additional costs for remediation on the property, including the riverbank. This total is for engineering and reporting ($44,000); demolition and disposal of the old concrete slab on the property ($12,500); and remediation of targeted locations containing chemical contamination on the riverbank ($147,980).


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