RANGELEY – After a tie vote Thursday night blocked their attempt to restrict development on Round Pond, members of the Rangeley Crossroads Coalition plan to “sit tight and let the process take place,” coalition Chairman Jim Proctor said Tuesday.
The Crossroads Coalition and members of the community petitioned the town to create a Round Pond protection zone, which would require, among other things, that all houses be on lots of 20 acres or more. Currently, the land around Round Pond allows houses to be on lots of one acre or more.
The rezoning would also have prohibited industrial and commercial land uses.
Coalition member Cathryn Thorup said Friday that the tie vote of 143-143 has “been really heartbreaking,” and added that a number of people had called her that day to tell her they were unable to vote on Thursday. “It showed the importance of one vote,” she said.
But Proctor said Tuesday that along with the rest of the coalition, he respects the voters’ decision not to further restrict development on the pond. The vote was “democracy at its finest,” he said. Besides, he said, many of the no voters are in favor of protecting the pond, but want “this process (to) go through the town and through the Planning Board.”
Proctor said his group wants to protect Round Pond because it is the only natural, undeveloped pond left in Rangeley. The pond is on the Department of Environmental Protection list of at-risk ponds, he said, and 20 percent of lakes region loons nest around it.
In addition to protecting nature, Proctor said keeping Rangeley’s ponds healthy is necessary for the tourism industry to thrive. “Because (nature) is what brings our tourism to Rangeley,” he said.
On Friday, Thorup agreed with him. “If we end up over-developing Rangeley, we’re going to lose the tourism that drives our community,” she said.
Development on Round Pond became an issue for the coalition two years ago, when Hermie Glick, 26, of New York bought 300 acres on Round Pond that he hopes to develop into a youth summer camp. Crossroads Coalition members oppose the camp, saying as planned it is too big for Round Pond. But they also say their drive to rezone the pond is not solely to stop the Glick camp. Along with his mother, Mary, and brother Jason, Hermie Glick has been fighting the Crossroads Coalition’s attempt to stop him from building the camp.
Mary Glick said Monday that she would “like to thank everyone who voted to adhere to the existing zoning and maintain confidence in the existing town government processes. The imagination did seem to control events for a while, and I hope actual information will now be the basis for any action or decision making.”
According to Town Manager Perry Ellsworth, Thursday night’s vote was “not the first vote that’s been tied in Rangeley.”