Plum Creek Timber Co. submitted a long-awaited application Thursday afternoon for a controversial development plan in the Moosehead Lake region.
The Maine Land Use Regulation Commission, the planning and zoning board for Maine’s unorganized territories, announced the plan’s filing but provided no details. Copies of the plan will be made available to the public as soon as possible, according to the agency.
“After waiting more than a year for this application, we are ready to review the application for completeness and, if deemed complete, begin the public review process,” said LURC Director Catherine Carroll.
Carroll vowed that the agency’s review would be “fair, impartial and thorough.”>/p>
The plan is a revised version of a proposal filed last year and criticized for its plan to spread development into remote woods around the lake.
Plum Creek, the nation’s largest private landowner and the owner of 1 million acres of Maine forest, wants to rezone commercial timberland on both the east and west sides of Maine’s largest lake. The company wants to make room for 975 house lots and two resorts on a total of about 10,000 acres, while leaving about 400,000 acres as forest under conservation easements, according to details provided by Plum Creek in recent weeks.
Company officials did not announce the filing or release additional details Thursday, at the request of LURC, which wanted to avoid potential demonstrations or protests surrounding the filing. Plum Creek’s regional general manager could not be reached late Thursday.
Printed copies will be made available for review in Greenville, Rockwood, Beaver Cove, Jackman and Augusta. For locations, refer to the LURC Web site: www.maine.gov/doc/lurc
Seattle-based Plum Creek has said its revised plan maintains the same number of house lots as its original plan but shifts some development from remote ponds and focuses it south of Rockwood and north of Greenville at Moosehead’s southern end.
The project has aroused strong passions on both sides. Plum Creek property and homes of employees involved in the development plan have been targets of vandalism.
Supporters have described the project as a thoughtful blend of conservation and development, while critics maintain it would open the door to wilderness sprawl and threaten the character of Maine’s North Woods.