A group is asking the state’s Land Use Regulation Commission to put a massive Moosehead Lake development proposal on hold until the panel comes up with a new plan for the entire region.

Plum Creek, a timber management and development company based in Seattle, outlined its project in December. Including two resorts and potentially hundreds of waterfront homes, the effort has been termed the largest development possibility ever facing the unincorporated areas of Maine.

On Friday, a group of people from across the state filed a petition with LURC asking it to put all large development proposals on hold until the commission completes a new plan for the Moosehead region.

LURC has no updated regional plan or zoning provisions for the Moosehead region to guide its decision-making process, the group maintains.

In announcing their effort, they noted that in 1997, LURC committed to preparing regional land use and zoning plans for four areas: Rangeley, Moosehead, Carrabassett Valley and Millinocket.

The four regions were specifically identified in LURC’s comprehensive plan because of outstanding natural and recreational resources and their potential to support additional, well-planned growth.

So far, the agency has only developed a plan for Rangeley.

“Moosehead was the second-priority region, and LURC needs to do that work before considering any large development proposals,” said Caroline Pryor, one of those asking that Plum River’s project be put on hold. Pryor served as a LURC commissioner when the comprehensive plan was last updated.

“Our request for a 180-day moratorium would provide LURC with a critical opportunity to solicit public input and develop a vision for growth in the Moosehead area, along with the corresponding rules to guide that growth,” she said in a statement.

Jon Lund, a former Maine attorney general and publisher of The Maine Sportsman newspaper, is another of the petitioners. Better zoning and rules are needed to ensure that large development proposals do not ruin the character and uses of the Moosehead region, he said.

Many visitors go to the Moosehead area to enjoy the beauty and undeveloped landscape, said Bob Guethlen of Rockwood.

“We need a plan that is developed with input from residents of the region and across the state to guide development so that it doesn’t destroy the very essence of what makes this place special,” he said.

“It is important for the commission to develop an effective regional plan for Moosehead, and the tools to enforce it, before considering a massive development proposal such as the one proposed by Plum Creek, said Clinton Townsend, a former LURC commissioner and longtime sportsman.

It wasn’t clear when LURC would take up their request.


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