Manager quells rumor of new heat-treated wood facility

By Stephanie Grinnell | Oct 02, 2017

Stockton Springs — A concerned citizen reached out to selectmen after reading a Portland Press Herald story featuring Arthur House, owner of Maine Biomass Exports LLC, in which he stated he's planning to build a new facility in Stockton Springs.

Town Manager Courtney O'Donnell said Sept. 28 she spoke with Code Enforcement Officer John Larson and he said there are no applications on file with the town for such a project. If House wishes to establish a facility in Stockton Springs, he would be required to submit an application and go through the Planning Board process, O'Donnell noted.

"He's not come forward with any applications," she said. "I confirmed (with Larson) nothing is being built and no applications (have been) received."

House previously mentioned a site in Stockton Springs back in January, when going through the Planning Board process in Searsport. At that time, he said initial plans for a facility to heat-treat logs and wood chips for export overseas were scrapped after Prospect passed a moratorium on commercial development.

House initially approached Prospect residents and officials with a proposal to construct a wood chip processing facility in December 2014. An ordinance review already underway in Prospect created new rules for commercial development when residents approved it in April 2015. House's company website indicated the facility in Prospect would use phytosanitation heat treatment on raw fiber, wood chips and logs for shipment outside the United States and to domestic wood pellet manufacturers.

House said in a Jan. 2 email to The Republican Journal that he no longer planned to construct a facility in Prospect and instead would use property there for a truck scale in the future. He confirmed at the time he intended to relocate operations to Stockton Springs but declined to give further details.

The Portland Press Herald story published this week again referenced Stockton Springs, and included a 2018 timeline for opening.

House did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.

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Stephanie Grinnell
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Stephanie is editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. She previously served as editor of Camden Herald following its return in April 2012.

Stephanie also was editor of VillageSoup's Capital Weekly in Augusta and has nearly a decade of experience in the newspaper business ranging from southern and central Maine to Waldo County.

Outside the office, she enjoys reading, cooking and gardening.

Stephanie lives in Washington with her husband Jeff, four children, a dog named Chewbacca, a rabbit and chickens.

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