May 25, 2018
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Federal court clears way for Maine botanical gardens’ $30M expansion

Courtesy of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Courtesy of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Illustrations provided by Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens show new gardens, a pond and a bog which will be installed on the site of an existing parking lot as part of a $30 million expansion project that broke ground in January 2017.
By Beth Brogan, BDN Staff

A federal judge has approved a consent agreement in two lawsuits, allowing Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay to move ahead with a $30 million expansion already well underway.

U.S. District Court Judge Jon Levy signed the decree Tuesday, nearly three weeks after hearing arguments by attorneys for the botanical gardens, the town of Boothbay and the Anthony family, whose property abuts the gardens and who were named as intervenors in the suit.

[Botanical gardens sues town of Boothbay over permit dispute]

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens may now complete all construction as initially approved by the Boothbay Planning Board, according to the decree. A November 2017 decision by the Boothbay Board of Appeals to overturn that building permit is vacated.

The town has agreed that the botanical gardens will be treated as “substantially similar to and compatible with an educational facility,” something the Anthony family and other strenuously objected to.

[Botanical gardens dispute seems headed for court after Boothbay Board of Appeals holds firm]

The gardens will agree to place a permanent conservation easement on 75 acres of its land within the watershed of Knickerbocker Lake, which neighbors argued was too fragile and could not withstand further deterioration.

The botanical gardens dismissed its claims against the town as part of the settlement, with prejudice, meaning they cannot be filed again.

Watch for updates.

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