Industrial development ban vote set Thursday


KINGFIELD – Residents will have the opportunity to vote whether or not to place a moratorium on Planning Board review of big industrial project applications Thursday night at a special town meeting.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Kingfield Elementary School.

Members of Citizens for Our Right to Vote petitioned the town for a moratorium on reviewing permit applications for big industrial projects days after Poland Spring Water Co. submitted an application to build a $100 million bottling plant in town.

Voting rights group representatives say the town needs time to add industrial zones to Kingfield’s land-use ordinances – a move called for more than 10 years ago when voters accepted the comprehensive plan.

Thursday’s vote will determine whether or not a moratorium is put in place. If enough residents vote yes, it will go into effect immediately. The Planning Board will be prohibited from reviewing the Poland Spring application – and any other applications for big industrial projects – for at least six months, during which time residents will be encouraged to amend the town’s zoning laws.

Poland Spring representative Tom Brennan said Thursday that while a moratorium would not necessarily spell the death of the Kingfield bottling plant project, it would put it at risk. Worst case, he said, Poland Spring’s parent company Nestle Waters North America might decide to concentrate more resources in states where they pump other regional brands of water.