Knox Village Soup 2007
Department of Environmental Protection denies Samoset pier
ROCKLAND — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has denied Samorock LLC a permit to construct a pier, ramp and float on Rockland Harbor.
DEP Commissioner David Littell signed the order April 13, according to Jim Cassida of the DEP. Samorock, the parent company of the Samoset Resort, has until May 13 to appeal that decision to either the Board of Environmental Protection or Knox County Superior Court.
The DEP order, issued under the site location of development law, follows months of review by the state’s environmental agency of Samorock’s proposed pier.
"After reviewing the evidence in the record and viewing the project site, the department finds that there is at least one practicable alternative to the project that would be less damaging to the environment," the order said.
Samorock LLC, which owns the Samoset Resort in Rockland and Rockport, is moving through the regulatory process with both towns, as well as with the state, to permit a major expansion. The project includes construction of a pier, as well as new condominiums and cottages.
Two weeks ago, the Rockland City Council approved in first reading a proposed zone change that would allow Samorock LLC to construct 45 housing units on 18 acres adjacent to and accessed by the road leading to the Samoset Resort.
Last fall, the DEP issued an order approving the Samoset's condominium plans for Rockland.
In Rockport, the town’s planning board gave final approval to the Samoset’s proposed 49 cottages, a community building and a spa at its April 11 meeting.
As proposed by Samorock, the pier would be closer to the proposed Rockland condominiums and accessed from Samoset Resort property. It would extend into Rockland Harbor by 550 feet. The 12-foot-wide pier would include a 50-foot ramp and a 140-foot float, according to the draft permit on file at the Augusta office of the DEP.
The total length of the pier, ramp and float would be 740 feet.
The proposed float would accommodate three to four boats at a time for on-loading and off-loading passengers, the DEP said.
The order's suggested practicable alternative to the pier would be to use existing marina facilities in Rockland Harbor, as well as the existing ramp and float attached to the Rockland Breakwater. The order suggests the Samoset use road and water shuttles to transport residents and Samoset guests to and from their boats located at moorings in the established mooring area of Rockland Harbor.
The order concluded that the pier would unreasonably interfere with existing scenic, aesthetic, recreational and navigational uses, and that it would unreasonably harm a significant wildlife habitat.