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Petition to
Commissioner, Maine Dept of Environmental Protection Melanie Loyzim and

Why this petition matters

*No donations are requested. See note at end of petition* 

We the undersigned oppose the construction of the pier, ramp, and float proposed by Randall Ward and Kristyn Morrisey-Ward (the “Applicants”) for their property at 37 Shag Rock Point, Lincolnville, ME (Lot #69, Tax Map #15).

The Applicants filed a Natural Resources Protection Act permit application with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection on or around October 13, 2021, proposing the construction of a six (6) foot wide by three hundred (300) foot long pier, a three (3) foot wide by fifty-five (55) foot long seasonal ramp, a sixteen (16) foot wide by thirty (30) foot long seasonal float (the “Project”). In total, the Project would extend as much as three-hundred and sixty-five feet (365) into Penobscot Bay. The application is currently undergoing review by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The undersigned believe strongly that the proposed Project would permanently damage a truly unique and beautiful stretch of the Maine Coast in several ways. We ask the state and local are officials reviewing the application to reject the proposed Project for the reasons summarized below, among others. 

·      There are currently no other private, individual, recreational docks of this size and scale, along the Lincolnville coastline. The Project would result in a physical and visual anomaly along the natural coastline. A scaled rendering of how the Project would appear along the current shoreline from the concerned property is attached. See Exhibit A.

·      The Project creates an impediment to current navigation channels as it would extend well over 300 feet from shore, and approximately 123 feet from the mean low-water line. 

·      The Project would unreasonably interfere with regular, customary, and traditional use of our public marine shore for recreation, safe enjoyment, and safe navigation. It would negatively impact those who currently use the shallow waters near the shore for sailing, kayaking, and paddle boarding, as well as other low environmental impact, recreational water activities. Novice sailors also often sail small watercraft in these waters. The Project would require all such individuals to go out into deeper areas of the Bay, creating significant threats to safety, particularly given the natural conditions and highly exposed winds in the area.

·      The proposed length (123 feet beyond mean low tide) and location of the dock would also create an obstruction in the navigable water channels currently used by fishermen.

·      The Project will unreasonably disturb submerged lands held in trust by the State of Maine for all citizens not just for specific individuals. It will have a negative impact on the habitat and ecological niches of numerous sea animals including shellfish, urchins, and others.  

·      The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine has held that the “The right to wharf out is not an unconditional right.” See Uliano v. Board of Environmental Protection, 977 A.2d 400 (Aug. 13, 2009). This is particularly the case when individual interests have broader negative impacts on neighbors, the broader community and public, and the environment.

·      The Natural Resources Protection Act in its section relating to scenic and aesthetic value supports maintaining these values particularly when there are alternatives available. There are alternatives to the proposed pier, such as a private mooring in the same location.

·      Pursuant to the Lincolnville Harbor Ordinance (“LHO”), Section 2(a) and 2.J, the applicants would have the highest priority for such a mooring which could be placed in front of their property without impeding use of the intertidal zone pursuant to the Colonial Ordinance and without the impacts on the eelgrass beds and navigation, including navigation by the public in the intertidal zone, that the proposed pier would have.  See also, 38 M.R.S. § 3. 

·      Due to its large size and location, the Project would most certainly negatively impact the scenic and aesthetic aspects of the shoreline.   From the shores of Seven Hundred Acre Island to Bald Rock in Camden Hills State Park from (where even the Lincolnville Ferry terminal is not seen), this Project would be seen. The coast from Lincolnville to Camden is pristine. There are no piers between the Lincolnville-Islesboro Ferry Terminal and Camden Harbor.  The one pier to the north of Lincolnville Beach that the applicants have cited as comparable is on a concave portion of shoreline, is less than 200 feet long and is defunct.

·      The size of the Project would negatively impact the privacy and views of many of the neighboring properties on the shore.

·      The Project would likely require the use of all night lighting to prevent navigational accidents. The resulting light pollution would disturb surrounding homes and negatively impact Lincolnville’s night sky view. Listed as a “Dark Sky Town”, this is one of the features that makes our town so special.

·      Granting this application would establish precedence for granting more such applications. In time more private docks would be built along the Lincolnville shoreline. This would affect the natural beauty of the coastline and negatively impact near-shore, low-impact recreational water activities. and allow a greater volume of higher impact water activities (e.g., motor boats and other larger recreational boats), potentially creating even greater environmental disturbances.

·       The applicant proposes to impede access to intertidal land protected for use by the public for fishing, fowling and navigation by the Colonial Ordinance of 1641-1647.  This pier would effectively split the intertidal zone in Lincolnville in two — providing no means of navigation north of the pier to those with lots south of the pier, and vice versa.

·       This pier is in an area where there is known eelgrass beds which should require protection from degradation, especially where the applicant’s sole use if for seasonal recreational uses but the impacts will be year-round and significant to the intertidal zone due to the proposal to construct a permanent dock to facilitate only intended seasonal recreational uses by a single family and their guests to the detriment of current public access along a significant stretch of intertidal land in Lincolnville near the public beach and the ferry landing for Islesboro.

·       Significant review of the plan including on site analysis by appropriately objective agencies must be completed and proper notification and opportunity to comment should be allowed all abutters within a mile of the project boundary.

·       We are requesting that the applicant be required to provide adequate notice to all abutters, as defined by the Department’s rules so the proper due process requirements are observed regarding this proposed project including all waterfront property owners within 1 mile (each direction) of the proposed pier.  This should include all property owners within the Harbour Point Subdivision as they all have deeded easements to the shore.

Our stretch of coastline in Lincolnville is unique even within Maine. Residents and visitors can enjoy the untrammeled and natural beauty of the coastline and the surrounding area while enjoying the amenities and access offered by desirable tourist destinations such as Camden, Lincolnville and Belfast.

The undersigned strongly believe that the proposed Project would fundamentally change one of the key features of Lincolnville that people who live and vacation here value and enjoy. We respectfully request that the approval for this Project will be denied both by the Lincolnville Planning Board and by the Department of Environmental Protection.

A Group of Lincolnville and Other Concerned Individuals

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