TREMONT — The Tremont Planning Board held a public hearing Aug. 23 regarding the Pointy Head Campground, which has been met with strong opposition from abutters. The campground consists of 15 units, including 11 cabins and four tent sites with platforms.
At the last Planning Board meeting July 26, the board found the site plan review checklist for Pointy Head Campground to be complete with the recommendation that the applicant provide the board with the locations and better descriptions of the lighting, as well as dimensions of structure. The board also found the application for the campground to be complete under the Tremont Land Use Ordinance (LUO). Both motions passed unanimously at this meeting.
Public comment was opened, and neighbors and abutters to the property presented their cases to the board for why the campground should not be allowed to proceed.
Main concerns raised by abutters were an increase in traffic in the area, light pollution from the lights at the campground, issues with wetlands and a lack of privacy due to an insufficient buffer between the campground property and the neighbors.
Both the owners of the campground and the abutters had attorneys present to argue their cases, with Dan Pileggi representing the abutters and Ed Bearor representing the campground.
“There is zero buffering, zero around the parking area protecting residents from the lights associated and the noise associated with people parking, leaving, coming and going at night,” said Pileggi. “There’s not a fence proposed, there’s not a berm…nothing.”
This was a major concern of abutters, and every abutter who attended the hearing brought up the issue of a buffer zone, especially as it concerned the parking lot and access road, which abutters want to have privacy from.
Pileggi also brought up the issue of lighting on the campground, which is another major concern of the abutters who oppose having their neighborhood lit up with outdoor lighting from the campground.
“The place is lit up like a Christmas tree, and there’s no buffering from those lights for the neighbors,” said Pileggi. “There’s lights around the parking area, there are lights at the cabins, there are lights based on the photos that were submitted, there are lights up the stairs to the cabins.”
Pileggi also made a case for the protection of the wetlands on the campground property, and why the campground should not be allowed to operate because of the wetlands. To verify his argument, Pileggi brought Mark Bergeron from the Augusta office of TRC, an environmentally focused engineering consulting firm.
Bergeron presented the argument that the property contains and is adjacent to more than 10 acres of contiguous wetland, and therefore is subject to a 75-foot setback per town ordinance, and that because this setback is not met, the campground is not in compliance with the LUO. The property itself does not contain more than 10 acres of wetland, but the wetland on the property is connected to Bass Harbor by a culvert.
“So freshwater wetlands mean a freshwater swamp, marsh, bogs or similar areas other than forested wetlands, which are one of 10 or more contiguous acres; or less than 10 contiguous acres and adjacent to a surface water body,” said Bergeron.
Bearor presented a counter argument to Pileggi’s wetland argument and brought an expert of his own. Dave Moyse of Moyse Environmental Services in Bangor explained why the wetlands on the property were not contiguous.
“Seventy-five-foot setback only applies to the portion of the wetlands that lies within the shoreline zone,” said Moyse, reading from an email from the Department of Environmental Protection. “Ditches and culverts as such do not connect wetlands and make them contiguous.”
Complaints were made by the residents at the hearing regarding the traffic that this campground would create, to which the campground owners responded that they have conducted a study that determined that an average of 131 cars per day would be going in or out of the campground.
Residents were concerned about the fire risk to the area if people in the campground were to light campfires. The campground owners responded that there is only one fire pit in the entire campground, and that it is at a central location. No personal fires are to be permitted at tent or cabin sites.
The board closed the public hearing portion of the meeting at 7:48 p.m. to begin the finding of fact.
The board moved to schedule the finding of fact for Pointy Head Campground on Oct. 11, and to require that any revisions be submitted to the board by Sept. 27, and any further submissions to be submitted by Oct. 4.