June 05, 2020

Plum Creek local fund idea praised

GREENVILLE – Tucked inside Plum Creek’s development and conservation plan for the unorganized territory in the Moosehead Lake region are some little-touted benefits, Greenville selectmen learned last week.

Much has been publicized about Plum Creek’s plan for the phased-in development of nearly 1,000 house lots; its plan to place more than 400,000 acres in the region in conservation guaranteeing public access for hunting, hiking, fishing and other traditional activities; its offer to give permanent public access to 144 miles of hiking and snowmobile trails; and its intent to develop a resort in Lily Bay and a Nordic ski area on Big Moose Mountain.

But the plan also includes some lesser-known proposals that were presented to selectmen Wednesday.

If the Land Use Regulation Commission approves Plum Creek’s zone change request to implement a concept plan for the development and conservation of its land, a regional fund will be set up to help local communities, according to

Luke Muzzy, Plum Creek’s

senior land asset manager.

Muzzy told selectmen the company would place $1,000, or 1 percent of the cost of each of the house lots, whichever is greater, into a regional fund to be administered by a third party.

The sale of all the lots would mean a minimum of $975,000, which the communities could use for programs such as education and trails, he said.

“That’s a very beneficial component,” Town Manager John Simko said Wednesday at the board meeting.

The plan also includes affordable housing and a 90-acre industrial site in Sapling Township, which is large enough to have a rail siding, according to Muzzy.

He said the county and surrounding towns are welcome to market the property to bring an industry to the region.

While the company announced its revised concept plan last week, it has not yet submitted the plan to LURC. The agency serves as the planning board for Maine’s unorganized territories.

Muzzy said the company is waiting for Eastern Maine Development Corp. to complete a study it commissioned on the plan’s potential economic impact on the region.

Selectmen agreed Wednesday that Plum Creek should update local residents at a public meeting when the study is complete.

“I just want to say, Luke, good job,” Selectman Burt Whitman said Wednesday.

Board chairwoman Bonnie DuBien said, “I applaud Plum Creek, it’s great.”

Muzzy said he was excited about the proposal, which provides local residents and visitors with land they can continue to use for recreation.

“If we all work together, we’ll have something no one else has,” Muzzy said.

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