Private landowners want to build a 300-foot recreational pier off their oceanfront property in Lincolnville, a proposal that has some members of the community seeking to stop the project.
The pier would be located off Shag Rock Point, less than half a mile south of the Maine State Ferry Service terminal at Lincolnville Beach. The ferry pier is roughly the same size as the proposed private pier, and that’s one of the things that has struck Lincolnville resident John Pincince as out of proportion.
He and others in the community have formed a group, “Lincolnville Voices,” to try to stop the construction of the recreational pier.
“It’s a major structure,” Pincince said. “It just really is not to scale at all in this area. It’s a totally undeveloped stretch of coastline here. That’s one of the characteristics that makes Lincolnville so special.”
The project would consist of a 300-foot pier with six granite cribs, a 55-foot seasonal ramp and a 30-foot seasonal float. Because the pier would extend into the intertidal zone, landowners Randall Ward and Kristyn Morrissey-Ward applied to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for a Natural Resources Protection Act permit. The couple also needs to obtain a submerged lands lease from the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. That agency is accepting public comments on the proposal until Jan. 3, 2022.
If built, it would be used for swimming, fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking and docking a boat with a four-foot draft.
The Maine DEP is now reviewing the application, according to Deputy Commissioner David Madore, and will accept public comments on it until mid-February. The department expects to make a decision in early March.
No application for the project has yet been submitted to the Lincolnville Planning Board.
According to the DEP application, submitted on behalf of the couple by Atlantic Environmental of Woolwich, several alternatives were considered before deciding on the 300-foot pier — including not building a pier at all. However, they decided it was necessary to build the structure so that they could have access to the ocean for recreational boating and other activities from their property.
“It is unsafe to land watercraft within the rockweed and boulders and the intertidal and shoreline are impossible to safely traverse with watercraft,” the application stated.
They also considered building a temporary dock, but because the ocean is shallow near their property and the wide stretch of intertidal zone has a lot of boulders and rockweed, they decided a temporary structure wouldn’t be as safe or stable. And they considered installing pilings rather than the proposed granite cribworks, but determined that the crib provides superior support.
The couple also looked into using existing public and private facilities, including the public launch that’s a little more than half a mile from the project site, but didn’t want to have to trailer and launch their boat on a regular basis.
Pincince, who spoke to the Lincolnville Select Board about the proposal this week, said he began collecting signatures against it last week. Sixty people have already signed, he said.
“I’ve been collecting them in person, and in this age of COVID, I think that’s a pretty good response,” he said. “There are a lot of constituents who are just not in favor of this kind of structure, at least along sections of coast that are essentially undeveloped and untrammeled.”
The state ferry terminal in Lincolnville is infrastructure that serves an entire island town, he said, but the proposed private pier would benefit just one family.
“If it’s selfish to want to maintain and protect something beautiful, then yes, I’m selfish,” Pincince said.
Landowner Ward said Wednesday that he is aware there is public outcry about the proposed project, which he believes is working its way correctly through the regulating agencies.
“Happily, the process is flowing the way it should,” he said.
People who wish to submit comments about the proposed project to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection should send them to Robert.l.Green@maine.gov.