Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission which we all call LURC (as in lurk or snoop around, “to lie in wait in a place of concealment especially for an evil purpose”) held a hearing Wednesday on the “concept plan” for development of Plum Creek land in the Moosehead Lake region of Maine. The purpose of this hearing was to announce that LURC had approved the plan, thus terminating a process that has been going on for the past four years.
This is all in my back yard, so to speak. Plum Creek owns much of the land in and around Greenville. Plum Creek is a Seattle-based timber management company turned real estate management company when forest development markets soared in the past decade. They bought Maine forest land cheap in the late 1990s and now wish to market some of it to the public for big bucks, a process which, if it happens, could significantly alter the Moosehead Lake area. Likely consequences for my home town would be increased real estate valuations, increased demands for public services possibly including Greenville’s schools, fire department, and police, increased taxes, increased in-town traffic, and a general deterioration of the myth of Greenville and Moosehead Lake being remote wilderness. These potential negatives would supposedly be offset by the increased revenues for Greenville area residents who take advantage of employment opportunities related to these developments.
I personally don’t know what to make of all this. If this development does actually happen, it could and probably would significantly impact me personally. Although there might be benefits, there would almost certainly be drawbacks including significant increases in my property tax burdens. But the larger question is what would become of my town? How will this much development alter the Greenville and the Moosehead Lake that everybody who knows them loves?
Nobody has an answer to that question. Now LURC has made it clear that nobody really cares. It’s the money that counts.