May 28, 2018
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Willimantic to hear proposal for Quimby subdivision

By Diana Bowley, BDN Staff

WILLIMANTIC, Maine — The town Planning Board is expected to hear a proposal next month from representatives of conservation philanthropist Roxanne Quimby for a 14- to 15-lot subdivision on Big Greenwood Pond.

No application or paperwork has been submitted to the Planning Board, but Quimby’s representatives have asked to present a preliminary review of what the project might look like, according to Cheryl Fairbrother, Planning Board chairwoman. That meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8, at Monson Community Center.

“This is very preliminary,” Quimby’s land manager Mark Leathers of the James Sewall Co. of Old Town, said Tuesday. He said the lots haven’t even been sketched out yet.

The proposed subdivision appears to be totally out of character for Quimby, whose nonprofit foundation, Elliotsville Plantation Inc., has bought and conserved about 92,000 acres in the Piscataquis and Penobscot county regions. Most of that property is in conservation easements.

While Quimby has been criticized because she has terminated leases to camps on remote ponds, Leathers said Big Greenwood Pond is difficult because it has existing development, electricity and roads, and the town is organized.

“This is a place where these kinds of cabins on lakes belong, and not in the middle of a 20,000-acre reserve,” he said.

Leathers sees nothing unusual about the proposal. “This is really about the local economy up there,” Leathers said. He said the property will increase the tax base, because the property will be removed from tree growth.”

In anticipation of the subdivision, Leathers said about 70 of the 142 acres she owns around the pond is undergoing a partial harvest by contractor Tom Adkins of Willimantic. The wood is going to local mills, as much as possible, he said.

“Roxanne really does have genuine compassion for the local economy, because she’s from there,” Leathers said.

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