‘Skiers peace,’ make room on the mountain

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Despite the fire chief’s concerns that fighting a structure fire there would “become something of a logistical nightmare,” a new four-lot subdivision called Buck Estates has been conditionally approved for development off Old County Road, on the side of Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton.

Planning Board Chairman Steve Collins, who helped craft a proposed new sprinkler ordinance that was quickly scuttled in the court of public opinion, said “my conscience still twinges me” in agreeing that subdivision standards for “adequate fire protection” will be met for the project by using the traditional fire tanker shuttle system. Collins and other members of the Fire Suppression Committee studied the advantages of modern sprinkler technology for months, but the strong negative public reaction the draft sprinkler ordinance received has convinced the committee to “go back to the drawing board” and draft new rules.

“I’d love to be able to (require sprinklers for Buck Estates), but we would be creating a precedent, and we would be overreaching” without a local ordinance in place, since the state has not adopted such a requirement, Collins said at the board’s Oct. 2 meeting. Fire Chief Glen Garland told the board that his department could pump water the 1,000-foot distance up the 12% slope of the new Rabbit Run Road that would be built off Old County Road to serve the four 20,000-square-foot lots, all to be served by a private common water system.

However, because ambulances could not drive over the large-diameter hoses that would need to be laid in Rabbit Run Road, Garland added, “in all liklihood, we’d have to carry someone out” if either firefighters or residents were injured in the fire and required emergency attention. “We’d try to lay our scene out so that it doesn’t become a problem,” Garland said.

Terry Buck of T. Buck Construction, Inc. of Auburn, who owns a second home on Old County Road, purchased the land for Buck Estates, located behind his property and adjacent to the ski slope at Shawnee Peak. The ski resort’s owner, Chet Homer, once had designs on the property, and although Buck now owns it, Homer sent the board a letter asserting that Shawnee Peak Holdings has an easement into the project site.

Homer’s project was scuttled by questions over whether he had a right-of-way to access Old County Road, a private road owned and maintained by a road association. Buck is a member of that road association and the Buck Estates land is served by a right-of-way he owns — but members of the Old County Road organization called “Schiersruhenberg” (Skiers Peace on the Mountain), still challenged his right to use their road.

Tom DuBois of Main-Land Development Consultants, Inc., representing Buck, said the Buck Estates residents would have their own association to maintain Rabbit Run Road (originally proposed as Buck Hill Road until the E-911 addressing officer decided that sounded too much like Luck Grove). Buck Estates residents would also join the Schiersruhenberg Road Association and contribute to that road’s maintenance as well.

“It’s doable, but you’re talking about a subdivision on a subdivision,” said the association’s president, Sandra Dolloff.

Collins said the board has previously allowed newer subdivisions to be built at the end of old subdivisions, citing developments off Hio Ridge Road and Frost Farm Road. One of the developments has been extended “three or four times,” he said, and each time they had a right-of-way to access the original subdivision road.

The board’s conditions of approval, which will be finalized upon acceptance of findings of fact at their next meeting in November, include the following:

• That Buck repair any damage done by construction equipment on Old County Road during infrastructure development of the lots, a project expected to cost around $100,000. The road must be inspected and videotaped by a third-party private engineer.

• That the turning radius be widened at the entrance to the development for ease of passage by emergency vehicles. To do this, Buck has agreed to use a portion of his private residential property.

• That Buck pay a $2,900 mitigation fee to the state Department of Environmental Protection for slightly exceeding lake phosphorus concentration levels.


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