AUGUSTA, Maine — A legislative committee gave its blessing to a report that sets forth a plan for Sears Island, which has long been the subject of development debate.
The Transportation Committee voted unanimously to approve a 601-acre conservation easement for the island just off Searsport, while reserving 330 acres for transportation uses.
An agreement calling for that breakdown and other uses of the unpopulated island was negotiated among 40 parties that included conservationists, transportation groups and state and local agencies. The settlement contained in a report before the Transportation Committee was an attempt to end decades of debate over how Sears Island should be used.
In voting Tuesday, the Transportation Committee stipulated that the conservation easement will remain unsigned until a permit’s been granted for port development on the island.
Jim Freeman, a member of the group that crafted the agreement, says the committee’s action in effect voids the deal and sends the issue back to limbo.