PROSPECT — Select Board members extended the town’s moratorium on development near the shoreland setback zone during an Oct. 20 meeting.

The moratorium was established so the Planning Board can review and update town ordinances as needed, and it has not completed that process, according to Select Board Member Bill Sneed. It also gives the Comprehensive Planning Committee a chance to develop a document that the state will accept.

The comprehensive plan developed in 1995 was never accepted by the state, Sneed told The Republican Journal. The committee this time around is working closely with state officials to ensure that the document is accepted, committee member and resident Brad Sealfon said.

Comprehensive plans are regulated under the state’s Growth Management Act and the documents are supposed to help towns plan for and manage future development, according to the Maine Legislature website.

The 8-12-member committee has made progress in developing a Comprehensive Plan over the last few months, Sealfon said. Members have talked with state officials and know the work necessary to develop the plan, which requires a lot of time and effort from every committee member.

The committee has started building out various sections that are customary or required for the document, he said. It has also issued surveys to residents based on the tax maps and left extra copies for residents at the Town Office. The committee has received responses from roughly 40% of the surveys it sent out, Committee Co-chair Brandy Bridges said in an email to The Republican Journal.

Residents approved the moratorium at their annual meeting in April. It prevents development around the 250-foot shoreland setback zone, starting at high tide. Town officials were concerned that the shoreline was still at risk because something could be developed right at the edge of that setback zone line, former Select Board Member Calvin Cooper said during a March 28 special town meeting.

Towns can establish moratoriums for up to 180 days, according to the Maine Legislature website. A select board can extend the moratorium another 180 days if the issue pertaining to the moratorium still exists and the town is making reasonable progress to address the problem.

Bowden Point LLC twice submitted state permits for a rock-crushing facility and adjacent pier on Bowden Point earlier this year. Its Virginia-based parent company, Salmons Inc., was looking to mine rock from Heagan Mountain, then crush and ship it out of Prospect.

Bowden Point LLC proposed crushing facility location in Prospect. Source: Maine Department of Environmental Protection

The company proposed building an 80,000-square-foot crushing facility on about 50 acres of property it owns. It submitted applications for the facility to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection late last year and early this year, both of which were deemed unacceptable and refused by the department.

The project drew stark opposition from several residents in town who feared the company’s operations would have a negative impact on the environment in the area and on the quality of life for its residents.

One of those opponents is Bridges, who co-chairs the Comprehensive Planning Committee. She has deep family ties to Heagan Mountain that go back several generations, she said in a previous Journal article. She was concerned that company’s long-term mining operations would be larger in scale than previous mining operations and would completely alter the landscape.

Opponents also had concerns about Salmon’s Inc.’s previous violations in Virginia. In 2006 the company received two fines for dredging violations in an area of Crab Creek, Virginia, according to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

The Comprehensive Planning Committee hopes to have its plan drafted by next spring, though it will probably not be finished before next year’s annual meeting, Sealfon said. The committee meets the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 4:30 p.m. in the Community Center. Meetings are open to the public. Surveys are still available at the Town Office.

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