Cambridge resident wants to open campground

Posted Aug. 25, 2011, at 10:32 p.m.

CAMBRIDGE, Maine — The planning board didn’t discuss the recent traffic accident at the intersection or the need to slow traffic down at the curve Thursday night, but they did review a sketch of a proposed plan to open a 40-lot RV campground on Route 152.

One of the planning board members said outside the meeting that any issues with safety at the intersection where an accident occurred Tuesday is a matter for selectmen and the Maine Department of Transportation, not the planning board.

In that accident, the driver of a tractor-trailer loaded with logs took the curve too wide and went into the ditch. The truck rolled onto its side and skidded into the Cambridge General Store. The truck damaged the store and crushed one vehicle and damaged another that was in the store’s yard. Only the truck driver was injured in the accident.

Some residents said they planned to discuss the need for safety improvements at the intersection since Tuesday’s accident was the third at the location in recent years, but the matter was not on the agenda and was not discussed.

What was discussed was resident Michael Watson’s plan to open Ferguson Stream Campground, which also would feature sites for tenting. Watson, who had no detailed plans for the project, said he didn’t want to invest any more money until he received a building permit from the town.

“This is a very expensive project and if it creates some local work, local revenue and is done properly, which the state does this, all he’s asking us for is a permit to move forward,” R. Bruce Furman, planning board chairman, said. He said there are only 10 RV parks in Maine and only three will take full-size RVs. This project is estimated to cost between $350,000 and $500,000.

There was some question as to whether the planning board had any authority over the project since the town has no building ordinance for RV parks and the project is planned outside the shoreland zone. Brian Turner, code enforcement officer, suggested that Watson actually did not have to appear before the board for a permit. The board, however, voted two in favor of the permit while two members abstained.

“Mr. Turner tells us we don’t have any say in it so then why am I going to vote? I’m going to abstain. I don’t see any reason to vote,” planning board member Irene Davis said Thursday.

That vote concerned some residents, especially when Watson had no specific details about wastewater and a well.

“On what do you base the yes or no for the permit?” resident Patti Dowse asked. “If Michael wanted to build a civic center on that lot or a garbage dump, I mean there would be criteria on which you decide whether or not you give him the permit, so what are the criteria with this? What makes you decide yes or no?”

Furman said Watson would have to comply with state criteria.

Dominick Cesare Jr., who recently purchased a home next to the proposed campground, expressed his concern about the few details available. He worried that the campground could draw down the water table below his well.

These issues will be addressed by the state, Furman said.

“We’re not the campground police. That’s not our job in my estimation,” Furman said. “We don’t have an ordinance against it.”

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