Farm employee fighting Turner subdivision plans

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TURNER – Kenji DeLige intends to make a stand, even if he has to do it alone.

“There will be a public protest,” he said, “a one-man public protest.”

Since plans for the Shire Subdivision off County Road began nearly a year ago, DeLige has had his concerns.

DeLige, who works for the Goodnow Jersey Farm that surrounds the new subdivision site, worried about the impact that 10 new house lots would have on the groundwater supply. Then he worried about pesticide use, and the effect that would have on his cows if it got into the hay they eat.

Now, DeLige is concerned about traffic safety near the subdivision’s Shire Lane entrance, which is being built off County Road, about 200 feet away from Route 4.

“We’ve got an accident just waiting to happen,” DeLige said.

The problem, he said, is that drivers turning off Route 4 onto County Road may not have enough time to slow down for someone turning into the subdivision.

“They wouldn’t be able to stop, and that’s not a good thing,” he said.

According to DeLige, the site distance for stopping is not meeting national standards.

But many would disagree.

According to John Maloney, a planning consultant for the town and a land use planner with the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, the site has passed all the levels of certification.

“I think people understand Kenji’s concerns,” Maloney said. “However, the Planning Board and Maine Department of Transportation have standards they need to consider and the board believed those standards would be met.”

The developer of the Shire Subdivision, Dale Talbot, said the Turner Planning Board is extremely strict. It could be argued, he said, that the board was even stricter with the subdivision because of the density of the project. So Talbot had to work with consultants to make sure all the standards were met.

“Of course they are,” said Talbot, who owns two other subdivisions in Turner. “I wouldn’t be investing a huge amount of money if they weren’t. We worked through it, and it took us a long time.”

The Planning Board approved the project last month. Blasting has been going on over the past few weeks to begin construction of the Shire Lane entrance, and Talbot, a Turner native, hopes to start building the homes next spring.

“I’ve been fighting this for about a year,” said DeLige, who has been passing out flyers in protest of the project. “I haven’t been out with the picket sign. Yet.”

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