After three and a half hours of comments from neighbors, attorneys and the project engineer regarding a 154-site campground proposed at 661 Tremont Road, members of the Tremont (Maine) Planning Board decided to extend the project’s public hearing until May 25, according to the Mount Desert Islander.
More than 100 people attended the public hearing via Zoom, including members of the Planning Board, campground owners Kenya and James Hopkins, attorneys for the owners and for neighbors in opposition, as well as members of the public.
To prepare for the crowd, the board, with help from town officials, established some rules of order prior to the meeting to allow as many people the opportunity to speak about the Acadia Wilderness Lodge campground as possible during the hearing.
“This is definitely the largest project that has ever come before the Planning Board and certainly the most controversial, at least since I’ve been around,” said Planning Board Chairman Mark Good at the start of the meeting. “We’ve received more than 100 letters in opposition and six or seven in support and all of those will be entered into the record.
“Reading through them, I found that some of the writers are unaware as to the Planning Board’s responsibility. We are legally bound to consider an application on its merits under the standards of our ordinances regardless of our own personal opinions on a project. Some of these letters stated concerns that, while possibly valid, we have no control over,” he added, giving an example of the future traffic impact on other towns on Mount Desert Island.
Presentations by the project’s owners, attorney and engineer, with statements from two different attorneys representing residents in opposition to the project, took up the first two and a half hours of the hearing. There was a discussion with the Planning Board during this time regarding the definition of dwelling units, completion of the stormwater management plan, whether the project’s plans will need to be adjusted to meet state permitting requirements, historic designations in the area and erosion control.