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New Nordic filings include release deeds from heirs for disputed property

By Stephanie Grinnell | Jun 10, 2019
One of the release deeds, redacted by Nordic Aquafarms' attorney, including in a June 10 filing.

Belfast — Nordic Aquafarms has filed a 144-page document that includes maps, letters, chains of deeds and redacted release deeds from five heirs at law (blood relatives) or devisees (a person left real estate in a will) allowing the company to claim title, right and interest in land formerly known as the Harriet Hartley or Phyllis Poor property.

The filing came in response to a Department of Environmental Protection request regarding missing documents referenced in Nordic’s Site Location and Development Act (SLODA) and Natural Resources Protection Act applications (NRPA).

Nordic has negotiated an easement to lay underground intake and outflow pipes through a Route 1 property currently owned by the Eckotes — formerly owned Harriet Hartley. Ownership of that property has been a source of contention between the Norwegian company and opponents of the proposed land-based salmon farm.

Nordic Aquafarms maintains it has clear rights to the property, while Upstream Watch, a group of neighbors and opponents, claim that Hartley retained and preserved the intertidal area in perpetuity. Upstream Watch has negotiated a conservation easement with Jeffrey Mabee and Judith Grace, whom the group says actually own the intertial area in front of the Eckrotes' land.

Nordic provided a stamped — opponents have argued that previous submissions have not been official — copy of a May 16 letter from James Dorsky that summarizes his survey results as well as a 2018 Good Deeds topographical survey of the Eckrotes’ property. Both of those documents were requested by Maine DEP and have been criticized as withheld by opponents.

In a letter dated May 29, Maine DEP Deputy Commissioner Melanie Loyzim requested several other support documents mentioned in application materials, but not submitted, that are related to title, right and interest.

Loyzim’s letter says a pre-application meeting May 7 between Nordic and the state Bureau of Parks and Lands — which will make the determination on the SLODA application — “recommended that NAF submit to the department all information illustrating NAF’s TRI that is in NAF’s possession or control, including all deeds, surveys, opinions, analyses and other information regarding the intertidal zone adjacent to the upland area of the Eckrote property.” She asks if Nordic has provided all of that information and states the company may “provide any additional information in NAF’s possession or control that may additionally or further illustrate NAF’s TRI for the proposed project.”

The deputy commissioner suggested providing Dorsky’s opinion “as to whether any part of the intertidal zone adjacent to the Eckrote’s (sic) property was ever separated from the upland property or is not currently owned by the Eckrotes.”

In his May 16 letter, Dorsky wrote the former Hartley property is now four separate parcels. He said one parcel clearly retained rights to the flats, and while the other parcels are less clear, Dorsky said he believes the Eckrote family has retained ownership of its parcel since it was conveyed from Harriet Hartley.

“Your legal counsel will be able to help you review this information along with their own research to help determine the status of the actual ownership of the intertidal zone in front of the Eckrote property," he said.

Loyzim also requested that Nordic submit “the size, acreage, dimensions and location relative to the Eckrote property of any intertidal area that NAF claims is owned by the Eckrotes ….”

Nordic counsel Joanna Tourangeau notes in her June 10 cover letter that the maps included in the filing have been updated to include that information.

In addition to Nordic President Eric Heim, to whom the letter is addressed, copies also were sent to the company’s legal counsel, as well as to Elizabeth Ransom of Ransom Consulting, other BPL officials and the state’s Assistant Attorney General’s office.

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Comments (12)
Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Jun 11, 2019 16:29

I just hope the City and Water company do not spend money until NA is built and assessed.  This inter tidal process winds it's way through the courts EXTREMELY slowly.

Robert F. Almeder v. Town of Kennebunkport was first brought to court in 2009 and just submitted arguments to the State's highest court on 5/15/19.  That is ten years of legal wrangling!!!


Sad, but true.  Eric has a point of the law suit thing, but unfortunately those are not laws in Maine.  I am on your side Eric on that one!


Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Jun 11, 2019 16:21

Thank you Stephanie.  The picture you posted of the "Release Deed" exhibit B certainly doesn't look like the PDF file you added to the article.  Was the "Release Deed" ever recorded in the Waldo Country Registry?


The release deed states "consideration" which would require a bank account of some kind.  Given the "Release Deed" gives to "Nordic Aqua Farms Inc" it must have a US address, and not a PO Box but actual residential or commercial space,  which bank funds would be drawn on and not a Norway address right?  Confused, because there is no date or page number on the "release deed" exhibit, nor any signatures and dates of the release???

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Jun 11, 2019 16:03

Thank you Stephanie. *smile*

Posted by: Jennifer Hill | Jun 11, 2019 15:29

Thanks, Stephanie. Isn't the deed of interest the one from Harriet Hartley to Fred Poor in January of 1946, when she retained the intertidal zone? My understanding is that the intertidal zone did not go with the property she sold Fred Poor. If that is true, he can't have sold it to the Eckrotes.

Posted by: Stephanie Grinnell | Jun 11, 2019 14:07

Kenneth, I've added a PDF file of the deed at the bottom of the story. Thank you, Stephanie

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Jun 11, 2019 13:50

LOL   Red Lobster didn't make it too long in Bangor.  Mainers don't take kindly to frozen lobster tails.  If you are taking a 2nd mortgage out to eat lobster start saving your pennies for the salmon too.  The price of lobster and the price of salmon are the same price per pound, at Maine Shellfish, the largest supplier of seafood in the area.


Most Maine lobster men and lobster women are not even overboard with their traps yet, or just in the process of anyways.  It is mostly Canadian lobster available today until they get traps in the water.

Posted by: Ellie Daniels | Jun 11, 2019 13:49

Eric, if Red Lobster is what you crave, why don't you move back out of Maine where you can find one anytime you like. And with regards to the legal bill you believe the City is passing along to the taxpayers, you ought to contact the Maine Municipal Association and inquire about the liability coverage that the City has for just this purpose. In fact, if the City had been following its own ordinances and the requirements of the State Statutes regarding Comprehensive Planning, the suit would never have been brought. The City is not above the law. There is nothing wrong with citizens protesting dirty business and loss of democratic process. And Maine Superior Court would have thrown this suit out long ago if it believed it was frivolous. Funny that the legal bills for the City are nearly twice those being incurred by the Plaintiffs. Pro bono, not quite. But there is a movement of people who believe a very wrong deed has been perpetrated here in Belfast, and they have been willing to pay for good legal work to prove it is so.

What has happened to Belfast that has led to so much hateful commentary? This is not the Maine I love and know.

Posted by: Eric Schrader | Jun 11, 2019 13:28

I'd eat lobster if I didn't have to take out a 2nd mortgage to afford it. The lobstermen are wining about the loss of the Chinese market with the tariffs. Why not make their catch more affordable for domestic consumption, their market would expand and forget China. What about Europe and other Asian countries? I long for the days of having a Red Lobster nearby where you can get a full blown meal with as many cheese biscuits as you want for $ 16.00 or all you can eat shrimp at "ShrimpFest".

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Jun 11, 2019 12:28

I haven't seen many deeds using the words "meaning and intending"  Deeds state specific data.  That's what deeds do!

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Jun 11, 2019 12:26 can have your salmon and beer now if you want.  Having NA in town is not going to change your ability to have salmon.  Matter of fact, when Trump finds a peace to the tariffs, my guess is you won't see any of NA salmon on the shelves as overseas will pay more then you are willing to pay for salmon. That is "if" they even grow salmon.  I believe there are other species of fish NA can grow that will generate more revenue then salmon.

Posted by: Eric Schrader | Jun 11, 2019 11:39

I'll be so glad when NA breaks ground and shuts down this opposition once and for all. Can't wait for my teryachi salmon with a nice cold beer.

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Jun 10, 2019 22:41

Can Village Soup please go to the Waldo County Deeds and publish the deed from 8/27/34 in book 386 page 453 please.  This is public record and no need to redact anything.

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