Monday evening’s Wiscasset planning board meeting drew what Chair Karl Olson called a “record” turnout of 20 attendees. Permitting specialist Cole Peters of POWER Engineers, Inc. represented Central Maine Power to propose a new transmission line on 6.3 miles of existing CMP right-of-way land. The line would run 2.9 miles from the Maine Yankee substation to Woolwich and then back into Wiscasset 3.4 miles northeasterly into Alna.
Peters said there would be work in the Maine Yankee yard, as well as the construction of two types of poles that will require board approval. CMP Manager of Permitting and Compliance Gerry Mirabile said the project is related to, but separate from, the New England Clean Energy Connect project and will be a network upgrade owned and operated by CMP. Mirabile said it “is related peripherally to the NECC project.”
This was a preapplication presentation. The board will review the full application for completeness at the next meeting after it’s turned in and a public hearing will happen at the meeting following the vote for completeness.
The meeting started with a public hearing on the proposed solar energy systems ordinance headed for the June ballot. Resident Ed Polewarczyk had several questions, mostly on how the ordinance applied or not to roof-mounted solar installments. No other members of the public commented or asked questions.
Amy Burchstead of Willow Lane presented her pre-application for a subdivision. She hopes to convert the downstairs of a duplex into a third apartment but is .4 acres short of the land needed for a subdivision. She also has a 137-acre lot that abuts the property; she cannot currently use any of that land for the duplex due to a conservation easement. She and a real estate agent, Anna Charlotte, representing the interests of a potential tenant, stressed the need for affordable rentals in the area given the influx of people moving to the state. The board concluded it could not give a waiver for the acreage under the ordinance and that, even if the board could, it was concerned about setting a precedent. Olson suggested her best course of action might be to contact Chewonki Foundation, holder of the easement, to request letting her transfer the acreage she needs.
In other business, Olson noted that as part of the town’s contract with Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission, LCRPC may be able to take over the review of projects under 2,500 square feet as a town planner would have done in the past. Board members agreed this would be a helpful service and Emily Rabbe of LCRPC will work with the town manager on the details.
The planning board meets next at 7 p.m. May 10 via Zoom.