Poland Spg. application reviewed


KINGFIELD – Planning Board members Monday began the process of reviewing a Poland Spring Water Co. application to build at $100 million bottling plant here.

In a meeting lasting more than three hours, board members and town lawyers met Poland Spring representatives and their lawyers and engineers for the first time since the company submitted its application a week ago. About 10 other people attended the meeting.

Seated around a table in Webster Hall behind binders thick with the application and surrounded by large aerial photographs of the proposed plant site hanging on the wall, board members began the application-review process by trying to determine if the volumes of pages Poland Spring submitted constitute a complete application.

Right off, board members and lawyer Andy Hamilton seized upon points needing more documentation. The submitted application contains some information about projected noise levels, for example, but not as much as board members want, and what is included is not descriptive enough to allow anyone but a noise expert to understand it.

Planning Board member Betty Ann Listowich suggested Poland Spring, a subsidiary of Nestle Waters North America, include information on the estimated noise levels at the projected property line by taking baseline information of noise levels at similar distances at the company’s plants in Hollis and Poland Spring.

Board members also requested Poland Spring provide more documentation on projected levels of traffic and light, and provide elevation drawings of the proposed plant.

Poland Spring representative Tom Brennan said he had expected the board to find holes in the bottling plant application.

“It didn’t surprise me. An application of this size, you can do your best to anticipate every thing,” the board will want, he said, but “you’re pretty likely to miss some nuances, to be requested to expand on certain issues.”

The information the Planning Board is asking for will be relatively easy for Poland Spring to provide, Brennan added. “They weren’t all that significant, relative to the big picture,” he said.

“I thought it went well. The board is going through the (application) in detail, and that’s important,” he said.

Planning Board Chairman David Guernsey agreed, saying the meeting was a good start to what will probably be a lengthy permitting process.

“I thought we covered a lot of terrain, considering the fact we’d just gotten” the application, he said. “But you know, I’m kind of feeling my way with all this.”

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for May 8 and “at that point we’ll go over what (Poland Spring has) submitted and decide whether” the application is complete, Guernsey said.

Board members will hold a public hearing on a proposed six-month moratorium on review of applications for large industrial projects on May 1. The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. in the Kingfield Elementary School. The board voted Monday night not to take a position on the proposed moratorium.