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Maine Town Debates, Then OK’s RV Park Proposal

August 26, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Locator map for Cambridge, Maine

The planning board in Cambridge, Maine, reviewed a sketch of a proposed plan to open a 40-lot RV campground on Route 152.

Michael Watson plans to open Ferguson Stream Campground, which also would feature sites for tenting, the Bangor Daily News reported Watson, who had no detailed plans for the project, said he didn’t want to invest any more money until he received a building permit from the town, located approximately 50 miles west of Bangor.

“This is a very expensive project and if it creates some local work, local revenue and is done properly, which the state does this, all he’s asking us for is a permit to move forward,” R. Bruce Furman, planning board chairman, said. He said there are only 10 RV parks in Maine and only three will take full-size RVs. This project is estimated to cost between $350,000 and $500,000.

There was some question as to whether the planning board had any authority over the project since the town has no building ordinance for RV parks and the project is planned outside the shoreland zone. Brian Turner, code enforcement officer, suggested that Watson actually did not have to appear before the board for a permit. The board, however, voted two in favor of the permit while two members abstained.

“Mr. Turner tells us we don’t have any say in it so then why am I going to vote? I’m going to abstain. I don’t see any reason to vote,” planning board member Irene Davis said Thursday.

That vote concerned some residents, especially when Watson had no specific details about wastewater and a well.

“On what do you base the yes or no for the permit?” resident Patti Dowse asked. “If Michael wanted to build a civic center on that lot or a garbage dump, I mean there would be criteria on which you decide whether or not you give him the permit, so what are the criteria with this? What makes you decide yes or no?”

Furman said Watson would have to comply with state criteria.

Dominick Cesare Jr., who recently purchased a home next to the proposed campground, expressed his concern about the few details available. He worried that the campground could draw down the water table below his well.

These issues will be addressed by the state, Furman said.

“We’re not the campground police. That’s not our job in my estimation,” Furman said. “We don’t have an ordinance against it.”

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