TURNER – An 84-unit condominium project at Bear Pond and a 14-lot subdivision at Pleasant Pond brought about 40 citizens out to public hearings Wednesday on the proposals.

Questions in both cases centered on protecting the water quality of the ponds, runoff controls and possible pollution.

“Water quality determines land values and land values determine taxes collected,” Conservation Committee member Dick Thibodeau said. “If water quality goes down, taxes go down and everybody loses, not just the people on the pond.”

People at Wednesday night’s hearings also wondered about the effect of increased traffic on Route 219, which is a major east-west thoroughfare.

Following public comment, the Planning Board determined that the Bear Pond project application was complete. However, they refused to grant preliminary approval pending a Department of Environmental Protection report. The project must still receive both preliminary and final approvals before going forward.

The board deemed that the Pleasant Pond subdivision application also was complete, but no further actions were taken on that project.

Condos

Plans for the condo project at Bear Pond, being developed by Kurt Youland on 114 acres of land, show individual filtration areas for each set of duplexes as well as a retention pond for runoff.

According to Mike Gotto of Technical Services, the project application is under review by the Department of Environmental Protection. The project would affect 16,000 square feet of wetlands, and those permits are also still being reviewed.

Studies with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have been completed. Several steps are being taken to preserve habitat and protect a beaver pond on the property. Plans include building setbacks, retaining forested areas and providing meadow spaces. The development would include walking trails to the public beach across Route 219.

When asked what the impact would be on the town beach, Gotto replied, “We did not look at that.”

“We wanted to take another part of beachfront that I own and make it part of this project,” Youland said. “But no one wanted that.”

House lots

The 14-lot subdivision for single-family homes at Pleasant Pond, being developed by Roger and Joan Deschenes, is on 56 acres. The lots do not have shorefront but are in the pond’s watershed.

Questions centered on runoff from four lots that drain toward the pond. Gotto, who also represented this project, explained that the wooded lots would remain somewhat forested since building envelopes, or areas, had been designated for each lot.

A large area of wetlands also would remain undisturbed. Several neighbors questioned possible phosphorus runoff into the pond and its effect on the water quality.

Pleasant Pond, according to Cindy Anderson of the Turner Watershed Alliance, has declining water quality and since the pond flushes out at a much slower rate than most ponds, she said, any added pollution could be detrimental.

Gotto explained that the development contains a phosphorus control pond to prevent just such a situation.

“We have lost some of the economic value of this land because we are trying to do it responsibly with the least impact to the pond,” said developer Deschenes.

Under current ordinances, the development could have had more than 20 lots instead of the 14 proposed, Gotto said.

“The questions you are hearing tonight are just expressions of the general concern people are feeling,” Pleasant Pond resident Rick Simmons said. “There is a correlation between development and decreased water quality.”

Planning Board member Gregg Varney responded: “If this plan is done as presented, I believe it will have less impact on the pond than the average lot your houses sit on.”


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