NEWRY – Puzzle Mountain’s 3,133-foot-high summit could remain forever wild if a proposed subdivision application gains Planning Board approval.

Planners continued work Wednesday night on a subdivision application by Newry landowner Robert Stewart of Cumberland Foreside. Planners first saw it at the board’s mid-August meeting.

Stewart, who owns 1,352 acres on Puzzle Mountain, is proposing to create a five-lot residential subdivision totaling about 550 acres. It will be diagonally across from Eddy Road on Route 26 in Newry.

Pending Planning Board approval of the project, called the Preserve of Puzzle Mountain, Stewart intends to transfer 450 acres, as well as donate a parking area, to the Mahoosuc Land Trust. Stewart said he plans to transfer the summit of Puzzle Mountain to the Mahoosuc Land Trust for natural resource preservation and access for hiking and recreation.

Stewart is the visionary behind creation of the new, Grafton Loop Trail, a rugged, 42-mile back-country path through the Mahoosuc Mountains that is being built.

Four lots of Stewart’s subdivision would be more than 100 acres each; the fifth, 52 acres.

By doing this, Stewart intends to disperse the impact of these residential lots, according to his application.

The fifth lot would serve as access to the four larger lots by way of a proposed internal private subdivision road of 8,190 feet, with a 630-foot spur road to the south.

Stewart intends to permit the development of these five lots on Puzzle Mountain property, yet limit any further subdivision or overt commercial uses of the lots, stated Darryl N. Brown, Stewart’s representative.

Brown, of Main-Land Development Consultants Inc. of Livermore Falls, also stated in an Aug. 17 letter to Planning Board Chairman Joseph Aloisio that Stewart would impose guidelines to blend the roofs of the structures into the landscape.

“Ever since I came up with the idea of the Grafton Loop Trail some nine or more years ago, I have dedicated myself to making the Bear River Valley an area that would be accessible to hikers, so that the public would be able to enjoy one of the most pristine and beautiful areas in the state, while simultaneously creating a greater awareness and appreciation of the wonderful natural resource that we all are so fortunate to possess,” Stewart stated in a letter to planners Wednesday night.

The service road, Stewart said, will serve the development and Grafton Loop Trail with only one road cut, to be located in an area “where the visibility is excellent.”

If the plan is accepted, Stewart’s letter stated that there would never be more than five homes on 1,100 acres.


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