BUCKSPORT, Maine — Citing “certain deficiencies,” the state Department of Environmental Protection has returned a demolition permit application to the new owner of the former Verso paper mill.

DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho sent a 5-page letter outlining the department’s concerns to AIM Development representatives on April 6. The letter was in response to an application that the Brewer-based engineering firm CES, Inc., had submitted to the agency on behalf of AIM.

AIM Development acquired the former paper mill from Verso earlier this year, after Verso decided to shut the facility down and to lay off more than 500 mill employees at the end of 2014.

The new owner, a subsidiary of Montreal-based scrap metal dealer American Iron & Metal, has not indicated what it will do with the site once the mill is demolished. AIM officials have suggested, however, that they likely will try to redevelop it, as they are doing with another former Verso mill in Sartell, Minnesota.

Bucksport town officials have said that despite prior statements made by company officials, AIM officials have told them that the firm has decided it does not want to use the 250-acre waterfront site as a possible permanent recycling facility. About half of the property, or 123 acres, is occupied by the defunct mill, power generation facilities and associated support facilities, according to DEP.

In her letter, Aho indicated that AIM’s application as submitted did not contain enough required information to be considered for processing.

“We are returning this application because it has a wide range of deficiencies,” the commissioner wrote.

She said some of the additional information DEP wants from AIM includes:

— Clarification of the name of the owner of the property.

—More detailed information on noise control measures.

— Updated financial information listed in U.S dollars, rather than in Canadian currency.

— How AIM will manage onsite crushing and disposal of concrete.

— What AIM will do to control erosion and sedimentation, air emissions, and stormwater runoff.

— Plans for disposing of wastewater and solid waste.

DEP rules also will require the applicant to attend a pre-application meeting with DEP officials, to hold a public informational hearing, and to attend a pre-submission meeting (three public meetings in total) before it will decide whether to grant the needed permits.

Sean Thies, the CES project engineer to whom Aho addressed the letter, declined Wednesday to comment on DEP’s decision to return the application.

Jeff McGlin, AIM’s U.S. vice president for development, did not return a voicemail message left for him Wednesday morning.

The town of Bucksport also has received an application from AIM for a municipal demolition permit, according to Bucksport Town Manager Derik Goodine.

Goodine said late Tuesday that he expects the town will table the application until DEP receives and acts on AIM’s revised application to the state. The town’s demolition ordinance requires that applicants receive all needed state and federal approvals and that all property taxes be paid in full before the town will grant a demolition permit, he said.

“We’re awaiting that,” Goodine said of AIM’s property tax payment on the defunct mill property. “We’re not going to issue [our permit] until the state issues theirs.”

Goodine added that the town council decided last week not to amend its demolition ordinance or to grant AIM a waiver for the ordinance. AIM had approached the town about getting a possible waiver so that it could work on Saturdays, which the ordinance does not allow, and could guarantee completion of the project in some way other than posting an expensive bond.

The council vote to require AIM to comply to the ordinance as it is currently written was 4-2 in favor, Goodine said.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....