OTISFIELD – More than a year after Dan Simoneau began the process of creating Camp Manasseh on Saturday Pond, the Planning Board has scheduled a site walk for the proposed Christian summer camp.

The public walk will begin at 5:30 p.m. today on Ahonen Road. The next step toward approval of the camp, a public hearing, will be 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Town Office on Sept. 20.

Selectmen issued a stop-work order on the camp in May 2004. At that time, Simoneau had approached the Planning Board about the project but hadn’t received approval from Road Commissioner Richard Bean Sr. to begin work on a driveway to access his 156 acres. After Bean approved the driveway, Simoneau was able to continue work on it.

Simoneau presented his site plan to the Planning Board the following August, but the board was unable to accept it because the application fee had not been paid. Nearly a year later, Simoneau provided proof of financial backing, the final piece of the plan, but the Planning Board had to postpone taking action again because its consultant, Scott Williams, was not able to attend a July 19 meeting. Finally, in August, everyone concerned with the project was able to meet, and the site walk was scheduled.

Residents have been very vocal about the project at times. At a November Planning Board meeting, homeowners in the Saturday Pond area expressed concerns about the noise that would be created by having up to 250 children at the camp. Impacts on the water quality of the pond and nearby Moose Pond have also been a concern.

The camp, if approved, would run seven weeks each summer, and possibly host events at other times in the year. Simoneau plans to construct three buildings on the property. A main building will house Simoneau’s family, as well as dining and meeting space for campers. The second building will provide housing for campers, and a third will shelter water tanks and power and phone lines. All three buildings would be outside of the shoreland zone.

Campers would be allowed to swim in the pond and use canoes and kayaks, but no motorized boats would be used. No alcohol or smoking would be allowed at the camp.

Planning Board Chairman Richard Micklon said that after the site walk and public hearing, the board will be able to work on the proposal and write their findings of fact. Despite the long delays in the planning, he said work on the proposal should progress smoothly at this point.


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