TREMONT — After finding the application for a 154-site campground called Acadia Wilderness Lodge complete, the Tremont Planning Board is scheduled to conduct a site visit prior to a public hearing.
Members of the board have asked for submission of peer reviews of the stormwater management plan and the traffic study that were included in the campground application prior to the public hearing scheduled for April 27 at 5 p.m. via Zoom.
During their second meeting to review the site plan application for completeness of the campground located on 42 acres off Tremont Road, members of the board brought up concerns about disposal of propane canisters and public use of the facilities.
“If there is going to be more public access for bicycles and walking and using the pool, then we have a whole other set of regulations in our land use (ordinance) for parking,” said Geoff Young. He initiated the discussion based on confusion created by statements made by the applicant, James Hopkins, in an article in this newspaper and by Hopkins’s mother in an online petition.
“I think we have our hands full at the moment with a campground with a general store — that’s what’s in the application,” said Greg Johnston, whose company is presenting the application on behalf of property owners James and Kenya Hopkins.
Johnston pointed out that if the campground were to open to the general public for use, the owners would be required to come back before the Planning Board for a change of use.
“I’m glad to hear you’re standing by your application,” said Young in response.
Earlier in the review process, Young also brought up a concern with disposal of small camping propane canisters likely to be used on the property. It was part of a conversation about proper identification of, and location of, dumpsters on the application. Propane canisters are considered hazardous waste.
“We had not even considered it,” said Johnston, noting he was not prepared for the question and wanted to give a responsible response.
“It feels like you’re asking this applicant to solve a bigger environmental problem,” said Brett Witham, a member of the Planning Board.
Members of the board had asked for completion of eight items on the application before it could continue the review that was begun at a Feb. 23 meeting.
“There’s considerable interest and controversy regarding this application,” said Planning Board Chairman Mark Good. He added that the board would not hear comments from the public and that a finding of completeness of the application by the board does not mean approval of the project.
Planning Board member Lawson Wulsin noted there were several more people in attendance of the meeting via Zoom than had been at the first meeting regarding the application review. Good also brought up two online petitions regarding the proposed campground, one in support and one in opposition. Nearly 1,700 people have signed them.
“These petitions have no legal weight with this board,” said Good. “We have no way of knowing who signs these things. I would urge people who are concerned, maybe some of these petitioners, to write letters to the town, a statement to the town, prior to our public hearing.”
A site visit is scheduled on the property of the proposed campground on April 13 at 5 p.m.