A lobster boat bobs in Lincolnville Beach in this BDN file photo from 2013. Credit: Tom Groening / BDN

Lincolnville residents narrowly rejected a moratorium on the building of private piers, voting 78 to 70 against the measure at a special town meeting held Wednesday night.

The moratorium was put on the meeting warrant after 184 residents signed a citizen’s petition calling for a pause on private pier development. The petition circulated around the coastal community after private landowners proposed building a 300-foot recreational pier off their oceanfront property at Shag Rock Point. As of this week, the town has not received an application to build the pier, according to Town Administrator David Kinney.

John Pincince, a resident concerned about what he called “out-of-scale” coastal development, helped spearhead the petition drive. He and others opposed to the pier believe it would marr an undisturbed stretch of coastline, detract from the scenic beauty and harm navigation and public use of the intertidal zone.

He said Friday that he appreciated that people participated in the democratic process on the issue, even though the vote didn’t go the way he wanted it to.  

“I’m obviously disappointed,” he said. “I don’t believe the issue is over and done with.”

If built as proposed, the pier that sparked the petition would be roughly the same size as the Maine State Ferry Service pier at Lincolnville Beach, which is located about half a mile north of the private property. Its owners planned to use the private pier for swimming, fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking and docking a boat with a four-foot draft, such as a daysailer or a motor yacht, according to a permit application filed with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

For his part, Pincince said that concerns about coastal development will not go away just because the moratorium was voted down.

“The issue is still problematic, in terms of development along this pristine, undeveloped shoreline,” he said. “I’m not giving up, because it’s too important.”

Going forward, he hopes that the conversation about coastal development will continue to happen in Lincolnville.

“What I would like to do is address concerns and see if there is some way to get town officials to address issues of development on the coast, particularly any kind of development that seems out of scale, or doesn’t fit the area,” Pincince said. “We’re not talking about inhibiting or prohibiting moorings from being put in, or anything like that. It’s really about a time to reflect and think and come together as a community, like we did the other night.”