LAMOINE CONSERVATION COMMISSION
TOWN OF LAMOINE

606 Douglas Highway
Lamoine, Me 04605
Minutes of the Meeting of January 8, 2003

The meeting started at 7:03 p.m.

Commission members present : Fred Stocking (chair), Pat Wallace, Nancy Pochan, Raymonde Dumont

Others Attending : John Wuorinen, Ken Smith, Jo Cooper, Beth Boland Levesque

Minutes of the Previous Meeting : The minutes of December 11, 2002 were reviewed and approved by a vote of 4-0.

Election of Officers : Rae Dumont bowed to the inevitable and was elected secretary. Susan Wuorinen sent a letter to the commission indicating she would be absent for six months, for health reasons. Susan offered to do research chores for the commission from her home.

Discussion of Forestry Practices :

Ken Smith showed the LCC a map developed by the Public Works Committee, showing areas of development, tree growth and conservation easements.

Nancy Pochan believes that a Forestry Practices Ordinance should include a vision for the future of Lamoine, rather than become a set of restrictions, which will likely get rejected by the town (like the previous Aquifer Protection Zone proposal). Nancy proposed an approach to guidelines for low-impact forestry, based on the whole town’s developing a sense of what should be preserved or encouraged in Lamoine. Nancy discussed purposes of encouraging wise land use practices, including shore land protection, recreational uses, social, cultural historic and esthetic benefit, watershed and habitat protection. Maps of special habitats and eagle nesting sites will soon be available from Inland Fish and Wildlife.

Ideas were discussed about how to enforce permits for good forestry practices, and at what cost. Alternatively, ideas were raised to create incentives for good forestry practices, such as tax incentives. Ken Smith noted the issue of threshold for state requirements and regulations, based either on cords of wood harvested per year, on acres of canopy opening, or acres per year being harvested. He noted that many of the regulations in use do not apply to the small forested properties in Lamoine. Ken reports that the Maine Forestry Service is supportive and interested in a “model” town ordinance, which does more than address aesthetic concerns and tries to support multiple uses of forested land. Ken also pointed out that if wise use of forested land can be encouraged, and made sustainable, it is less likely that land owners will be forced to sell land for development, which clearly has a much greater environmental impact.

Fred proposed that the town develop a method for gathering information on the permits and harvesting notifications which are public information but which receive little attention .

A discussion was held regarding the fact that other towns’ existing ordinances emphasize aesthetics. It was thought this needs to be balanced with Lamoine residents’ concerns, and factors were postulated such as economics, private ownership rights, the desire not to change the rural character of the town, etc. Rae noted that State regulation is evolving, and a proposed Lamoine ordinance should anticipate the changes.
Nancy discussed the matter of the authority by which an ordinance would be upheld, and the enforcement process including appeals, and also how to review after violations.

Ken and Nancy proposed a schedule for further proceedings of the Lamoine Forestry Working Group. Ken and Nancy will meet with the State Forestry department in Augusta on January 27th. It was proposed to hold a workshop on February 3, at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall. Owners of “land in tree growth” will be invited personally by Ken and Nancy. Subsequently, and based on the above, a proposal for an ordinance will be drafted and presented to the Selectmen, and the Planning Board. The state requires that a licensed Forester be involved in the drafting, and that the final draft be reviewed by the Forest Service before a public hearing is held, and that 45 days then elapse before the residents’ vote. All present agreed that the Town Meeting of March 2004 was a realistic target for this process. The concept of the workgroup and the February workshop were approved with a vote of 4-0.

Jo Cooper made suggestions for obtaining a grant from Maine Community Foundation, Hancock County Conservation, or Project Canopy, to help fund the efforts involved. Pat Wallace agreed to gather some information about sources for funding. Fred also suggested getting a small grant to develop an information brochure on low impact forestry, which could be made available to residents.

Planning Board Report : Rae reported on the Planning Board meeting of January 7, mainly focused on the permit requested by Gott and Son for a stump grinding operation. Ken Smith pointed out the environmental dangers of such operations (mud run-off, contamination of surface water, fire hazard) and danger to the aquifer was discussed in light of the site in question being on an unrestored portion of the gravel pit (which has not been mined recently). However, since the area in question technically remains part of the gravel pit at present, the operation is not permissible according to existing ordinances. Should Gott and son resubmit a proposal after permanently closing and/or restoring the section in question (thus removing it from the gravel pit itself), the environmental issues and other aspects would need to be reviewed by the planning board before considering granting a permit.

Gravel Pit Restoration discussion was postponed to March 12, to allow full discussion.

Park Ordinances from other towns were reviewed by Rae, who annotated the Bar Harbor version (which seemed to the point, and most applicable to the Lamoine situation), and added selected items from elsewhere. Fred will review this material and present it for discussion at the next meeting, on February 12.

Beginning with Habitat Presentation by Barbara Cherry, of the Audubon Society, is scheduled for 7 p.m. on February 12, during the first half of the regular Conservation Commission meeting. Barbara will bring a projector. Rae will suggest she bring an extra long chord for her projector, and will provide a projection screen. Rae will send publicity to the Town and ask Stu to E-mail it. She will also notify the Ellsworth, Bangor and Bar Harbor newspapers.

Concerns of those attending: none.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Raymonde Dumont
Secretary
Lamoine Conservation Commission