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Rockport projects abound including solar farms, subdivisions

By Daniel Dunkle | Jun 04, 2021

Rockport — The Rockport Planning Board has found its agendas so packed with new proposed projects that it has had to consider taking on more meetings per month to get through them all.

The board met on May 27 and again June 1 and considered projects including proposed subdivisions, two major solar projects, water treatment lagoons and the expansion of the Emergency Department at Pen Bay Medical Center.

Among the projects, ReVision Energy is proposing 1,296 solar panels to the roof of the Mid-Coast Recreation Center at 535 West St. in Rockport. The project would provide 85 percent of the center’s power. This came before the board June 1 as a pre-application.

On May 27, the board approved a minor expansion of the Emergency Department at Pen Bay Medical Center, adding about 5,600 square feet. The project was presented by Gartley & Dorsky Engineering and architect Charles Rizza.

The board also approved two new water treatment lagoons at the Mirror Lake facility of Maine Water Co. The project will also include stormwater treatment features and a bridge across Oyster River.

The lake has been the local drinking water source for about a century. Water is treated there both via the use of chemical treatments and a process called “air scrub.” The company produces an average of 3 million gallons per day and could eventually have the capacity to do 6 million gallons. It serves 7,200 citizens in several area towns.

At the same meeting, the board heard the pre-application for Ridge Creek, a seven-lot subdivision planned for Route 1. It had previously been approved as a 20-lot condominium project under the name "The Ridge at Rockport," but the condominiums have not been selling as hoped. The site covers nearly 11 acres. The owner of the project was listed as Herb, LLC of Brunswick.

Another project, a four-lot subdivision proposed by M. Richardson, LLC. at Terrier Circle, near Old County Road, met with opposition from neighbors. Neighbors complained that heavy equipment was working at the site starting early in the mornings seven days a week from April to October. It was also claimed that the activity was the subject of legal action, but the Planning Board is awaiting confirmation of the court documents on that.

Neighbors are concerned the development could create traffic problems, making it unsafe for children there. They are also worried it will cause their wells to run dry adding new wells in the area, given that there has been less rain in recent years due to climate change.

Planning Board members were concerned that work there has begun before the project was approved.

The board also approved an amendment to the Samoset Solar Project located on Rockland Street, which is under new ownership. The change means 1.4 more acres of tree clearing and adding solar panels.

It was on the June 1 agenda to consider a major subdivision, but at the last moment, the item was withdrawn for that meeting. Stephen Black and Glenn Ruesswick are proposing a 7-lot subdivision at 63 Meadow St.

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