SEDGWICK, Maine — Officials in Sedgwick and Brooksville are gearing up to cut trees along the planned access road to jointly owned property on Walker Pond.
But they won’t be able to do anything more than that until they obtain required permits from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
The towns have been working together for more than two years to develop public access to Walker Pond. In 2008, the town of Brooksville purchased from Sedgwick a half interest in a 28-acre parcel in Sedgwick that includes an existing beach and between 500 and 600 feet of frontage on the pond.
Since then, the two towns have worked to develop plans for a road to the property, which included obtaining an easement to the site. According to Sedgwick Selectman Nelson Grindal, they have put out to bid the project to cut trees along the planned route of that access road.
“We’re bidding out to have the trees stripped now,” Grindal said.
Grindal said he expected the contract to be awarded this week and the cutting to be done this fall.
Although the towns do not need a state permit to cut the trees for the access road, they will need state permits to do anything else on the site, according to Jon Cullen of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Land and Water Quality. Cullen said the towns will need a storm water permit because plans call for soil removal, and the communities will also need a Natural Resource Protection Act permit to develop the boat launch.
Cullen said he had reviewed an application from the towns for the permits, but there was information missing from the application.
“I waited a couple of days to see if it would come in,” he said. “When it didn’t arrive, I sent it [the application] back.”
Cullen said the towns are seeking a permit by rule, which is a streamlined process for projects that are not expected to have significant environmental effects. The information missing from the application was an assessment from another DEP division that oversees the placement of boat launches and landings, and was necessary for a complete review of the project.
As of Tuesday, Cullen had not received a completed application from the towns.