TURNER — The Planning Board voted 3-2 Wednesday to approve a self-storage business for part of the former Twitchell Airport.

Richard Raubeson, owner of Bear’s Self Storage, has plans for 28, 8- by 20-foot storage units on the site at 40 Airport Road off Route 4.

Chairman William Bullard, Vice Chairman Edward Morris and Eben Shaw voted for approval. Shirley Twitchell and Scott Abbotts voted against the motion, citing site changes, work done before approval was given and failure to produce drawings of the second phase of the project.

The site plan approval process began in September 2022, Ben Smith, the town’s planner contracted from North Star Planning, said. The application was found complete after an April 19 public hearing, he said, and the Planning Board would only have to approve the findings of fact, a review showing the site plan meets town ordinance requirements.

However, members disagreed on how they left the matter of landscape screening at their May 3 workshop.

Raubeson said he was under the impression then that that the board would be looking just at phase 1 with the understanding that buildings from phase 2 would provide the required screening.


Twitchell and Abbotts said they did not recall agreeing to that and left that workshop expecting to see those renderings before approving anything. While existing plans for vegetative screens on either side of the project are acceptable, failure to provide screening in the middle is a concern, Twitchell said.

“Until you show me on a piece of paper what that is, I have a hard time voting for this project,” Abbotts said.

Both also said approving work that has already started sets a bad precedent for future applications.

“I just think we’re opening ourselves up to other people coming in and starting to do stuff without getting approval, and then hoping and praying later on,” Abbotts said.

Bullard said the benefit of approving the project, along with the condition that the phase 2 site plan is submitted within 60 days, is that it becomes a code enforcement issue should any requirements not be met.

“It just seems like we’re trying to be code enforcement and Planning Board at the same time,” Bullard said.

“I don’t feel like that,” Twitchell said. “I feel like we’re trying to get it right the first time.”

Twitchell Airport, the last in Maine that is privately owned and commercially operated, ceased operations in November 2022 after 76 years. The land owners, Kurt and Kelvin Youland, decided to sell the roughly 145 acres the airport and seaplane facilities share, including hangar space and docks.

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