Wilderness board plans hearing on $65 million development project

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MILLINOCKET (AP) – Maine’s wilderness zoning board plans to hold a public hearing in March or April on a Millinocket man’s plan to develop a $65 million upscale ecotourism resort in the Katahdin region.

There have been at least 14 written requests for the hearing, which will be held in Millinocket, with the specific date to be considered at the Feb. 7 meeting of the state Land Use Regulation Commission, its director, Catherine Carroll, said.

The project is the brainchild of Matthew Polstein, a Millinocket town councilor and businessman, whose properties include a restaurant and whitewater tour guide business. He has been working for three years on the Ktaadn Resorts project, which includes a community center, a campground and a residential and mixed-use subdivision on 1,450 acres along Millinocket Lake and Hammond Ridge.

“This won’t go without some controversy and opposition, I am sure, but my observation is that Matt has been working diligently to address any issues or concerns that interested parties have regarding his project and to address those concerns prior to filing the application,” Carroll said.

Although those requesting the public hearing include Polstein’s political opponents, the applicant said he welcomed such a session and had asked for one when he filed his application with LURC. The agency is not required to hold hearings on rezoning requests.

The Town Council voted 5-0 in October to support the project’s concept.

Polstein estimated that the project would create at least 100 full-time jobs, spur at least 60,000 visitor-days in the Katahdin region by drawing 17,000 tourists to his resort for about 3 days each.

LURC could come to a decision in six months, Carroll said.

Polstein hopes to begin construction next fall and said the entire project could take five to eight years to complete.

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