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Pier proposal sparks opposition from some Lincolnville residents

The pier would be 10 feet above the ground, and designer Tim Forester said it would allow 10 feet of clearance at just about every spot.

LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — On the shore of Penobscot Bay, not far from John Pincince’s house, the shoreline stretches out in a long, rock-strewn stretch, neither homes nor docks visible, just the waves and the rising tide making a sound.  

If people didn’t know it, they might not guess that the Islesboro Ferry terminal and the Lincolnville town landing were less than half a mile away from this quiet stretch of coast.

That, said Pincince, is a big reason he is fighting a plan from one of his neighbors to build a 300-foot pier to connect the land to the bay.

“Seeing how massive a project it is, and how far out into the bay it goes, I thought, ‘This isn’t right. It’s out of scale for this pristine area,’” he said.

It’s one of Pincince’s neighbors proposing to build the pier so that he can keep his boat close by. The pier designer said the shore at this spot drops off gradually, meaning the dock needs to go out some distance from land to have enough deep water to float a boat at low tide.

The proposed pier would be built on six sets of granite cribwork, spaced 50 feet apart, with the five-foot-wide pier on top of them. The pier would be 10 feet above the ground, and designer Tim Forester said it would allow 10 feet of clearance at just about every spot so that people walking the shore could still pass underneath.

Pincince and others living nearby insist the pier would be far too big for the location and would unacceptably change what has been a relatively unspoiled shore.

“I think something that size is absolutely unnecessary here,” Frank Capria, who lives a short distance farther down the shore, said. He regularly walks the coast with his dog.

“Are you planning on hosting 100-foot boats? And in that case, do I really want this place to turn into Bar Harbor?” he asked.

Pincince said he gathered 70 petition signatures from town residents who oppose the pier and is hoping to fight it when the proposal reaches its planning board.

He said he has talked with the property owners about the pier and said they “have agreed to disagree.”

The owners declined to be interviewed, but Tim Forester of Acadia Environmental said they are following every rule and applying for all the needed permits for the pier. He said the Army Corps of Engineers granted a permit already, and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection is now reviewing the application.

“Part of our due diligence is to look at what’s there and analyze whether it meets the rules,” Forester said.

As for the opponents, he said their arguments are not persuasive.

“They haven’t demonstrated we are violating any rules by doing this,” he said.

Forester said the Maine DEP is reviewing all the details now, including an assessment of the project from the Maine Department of Marine Resources. The DMR concluded, “The proposed project should have minimal impact on marine resources or habitat.”

That’s contrary to what the opponents say, and it will all need to be sorted out by both the DEP and the Lincolnville Planning Board.

Town Administrator David Kinney said Friday the planning board is aware of the proposal, but no applications or building permit requests have yet been submitted to the town.

The Maine DEP said it should issue a decision by mid-March. If it supports the project, the application to the town would likely follow soon after.

Pincince said they will continue to oppose the pier. Forester said he is hopeful the project will meet all the criteria to win approval.

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