TOMHEGAN TOWNSHIP, Maine —A New York City couple who own the $15 million-plus mansion at Tomhegan Township have requested permission from the Department of Conservation to install a submarine cable on submerged lands in Moosehead Lake.
Big Duck Cove LLC and Robert and Gayle Greenhill of New York City, who own an underwater utility line that runs from their home on the west side of Socatean Bay to Why Not Island, want to extend the line from Why Not Island to Socatean Point Lodge on the eastern side of the bay so they can eliminate a generator that now powers the Socatean Point Lodge. The lodge is a former sporting camp that was renovated for private use by the Greenhills, whose home is in the vicinity.
The Piscataquis County commissioners, who were asked by the DOC to comment on the request, had no problem on Tuesday with the proposal. Since most of the property lies in Somerset County, it is expected that the Somerset County commissioners also will weigh in on the proposal. Comments on the proposal must be received by the bureau on or before Oct. 26.
The Greenhills propose to bury the cable about 20 feet from the shore at a depth of 30 inches, then lay it on the lake bottom.
The application was made to the Bureau of Parks and Lands, which serves as trustee of Maine’s submerged lands. Submerged land includes all land below the low-water mark of ponds of 10 or more acres in their natural state. As such, the Greenhills must obtain a lease or easement from the bureau in order to do the work.
A lease or easement may be granted if the project does not unreasonably interfere with: customary or traditional public access ways to — or public trust rights such as fishing, fowling, recreation and navigation in, on or over — submerged lands; fishing and other existing marine uses of the area; and ingress and egress of riparian owners. It also must not diminish the availability of services and facilities necessary for commercial marine activities.
The Greenhills were cited earlier this year by the Environmental Protection Agency for violating federal wetlands protection rules when they expanded a private airstrip and developed a rock quarry at their property in Tomhegan Township. As a result of the violations, the couple recently were fined $115,000.