TREMONT — In a second neighborhood meeting since presenting an application for a 154-site campground on Tremont Road, those representing Acadia Wilderness Lodge offered to reduce their original proposal by two-thirds and remove RVs from the plan altogether.
Representatives for Acadia Wilderness Lodge, who have added ‘outdoor resort’ to the name, attended this week’s Planning Board meeting to ask for a further extension of the public hearing for the original application that began on April 27. Several extensions of the public hearing have been granted to accommodate the neighborhood meetings held by representatives of the proposed campground. Members of the Planning Board granted a request to move the second half of the public hearing to their Aug. 24 meeting.
More than 100 letters, most in opposition, have been sent to the town regarding the proposed campground that originally had 72 RV sites, 42 cabins and 40 tenting sites. Several of the 40 participants who tuned into the Zoom meeting on July 21 voiced their support for the changes.
Proposed changes to the campground, meant to address concerns brought up by neighbors and others, would change it from 154 sites to a 55-site glampground with several acres of green space reserved for walking trails. Those 55 sites would be made up of 18 luxury yurts and 37 glamping tents, with other changes including an all-day cafe for guests, a farmhouse store to provide prepackaged meals, prohibition of generators on the site, smokeless fire pits and a minimum 100-foot buffer from all abutting properties. Also, part of the proposal left open the possibility of building affordable housing on that property at a later date.
“I have to thank everybody because it looks as if you listened to what we said, you went to great lengths to revise the plan,” said one neighbor. “I think we really have something that we can work with… The effort you’ve made it really amazing.”
Others still questioned the density of the changed proposal and how that would affect resources in the area. Electricity availability, parking and other impacts on the neighborhood were also brought up. Neighbor Kari Seavey expressed concerns about services being offered to the public at the proposed site, such as swim lessons.
“I’m also concerned with the extra traffic we’re going to have through here,” she added. “And, what about police? There’s still no coverage. They never come when they’re called.”
Moderator Cindy Orcutt explained they would have security going through the site on a regular basis. Regarding police and emergency medical services, “we have heard loud and clear that what is there currently cannot be relied on if there is an emergency need.”
When the second public hearing takes place in late August, the Planning Board will have the opportunity to review the proposed changes and decide whether a whole new application is necessary. Neither members of the Planning Board nor the town’s code enforcement officer were present at the neighborhood meetings in order to prevent influence or having to go through official meeting protocol.
“They are in agreement it’s going to restart the review application process,” said Code Enforcement Officer and Town Manager Jesse Dunbar, referring to the town’s attorney and project’s attorney. “Their position, application-wise, is they’re not starting from scratch, just restarting the checklist process.”