Poland Spring files for bottling plant

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KINGFIELD – It’s finally arrived.

After years of talk and months of speculation, the long-awaited Poland Spring Water Co. application to build a $100 million water bottling facility in town arrived Monday.

It sits unopened under a table in the selectmen’s office.

The majority of the seven-member Planning Board were unaware of it when their meeting convened Monday night, and once they saw the reams upon reams of paper, promptly wondered aloud when they would have a chance to start reading the document.

Board Chairman David Guernsey explained Monday that before formally receiving the application, Code Enforcement Officer Doug Marble will need to accept it and refer it to the Planning Board, which he is expected to do Friday.

Then, at their April 10 meeting, board members will meet with Poland Spring representatives to begin the application process. They will do so “as if there was no moratorium on the table,” Guernsey said, referring to a special town meeting set Monday for May 18 to vote on a six-month moratorium on reviewing big industrial projects.

After receiving the application, Guernsey said, “We have 30 days to look at it and determine whether or not it is complete.”

After that, the board will hold a public hearing on the proposed bottling plant, which is expected to bring between 15 and 130 jobs to the area, and with it, in excess of 100 tanker trucks a day. After the hearing the board will begin the process of either granting a permit application, or rejecting the application.

Poland Spring representative Tom Brennan said Monday night he is excited “that the process is moving forward.” Poland Spring officials plan to file a similar application with the state Department of Environmental Protection later this week or next week, he said.

As for the next step, Brennan said he is optimistic about the Kingfield project. “We have a lot of support in town,” he said.

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