Vassalboro planners approve dam removal; extend permit for solar work

by Mary Grow 

Vassalboro Planning Board members approved both items on their Aug. 3 agenda.

The major one was an application from landowner Linda Butterfield and the Maine Rivers organization to remove the Morneau Dam on Outlet Stream and replace the nearby Mineral Springs Road bridge. The project is the final step in opening Outlet Stream to fish passage from the Sebasticook River into China Lake, Maine Rivers spokesman Matthew Streeter said.

The plan calls for removing the dam, the powerhouse and surrounding concrete areas and walls and creating vegetated slopes to the stream, and replacing the present bridge with a longer and slightly higher one.

Streeter had permits and approvals from sundry federal and state agencies. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife noted that dam removal would reduce a pond that is habitat for wading birds, but concluded the overall benefits of the project outweighed the habitat loss, he said.

Streeter expects the work will take four or five weeks. With the planning board approval, he hopes it will be done this summer, during the construction season for in-water work that ends Sept. 30.

Mineral Springs Road will be closed for four or five days, he estimated. He expects residents of the two houses on the road will use an old back access way.

Streeter said he is Morneau Dam project manager. He will be supervised by Vassalboro resident Nate Gray, of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, and Heidi Bunn, of the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

The second action Aug. 3 was approval of a double six months’ extension of the permit granted last September to Longroad Energy for a solar development at 2579 Riverside Drive (Route 201).

Kara Moody, who represented the company last year, explained that she does not know how long Central Maine Power Company will need to complete an interconnection study.

Once CMP is ready, construction can start. Moody said she will be back to appropriate town officials for a building permit and anything else needed.

Codes Officer Paul Mitnik, who is still willing to retire when someone can be found to replace him, suggested revisions to the site plan review application. Board members liked his approach.

The next Vassalboro Planning Board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 7. Mitnik has already proposed two agenda items, a pre-application review of Sunvest Solar’s proposed solar development on David and Jennifer Jones’ Webber Pond Road property and an application to replace a recreational vehicle at 107 McQuarrie Road, in the Webber Pond shoreland district.


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