Jay board accepts completed shoreland zoning application for NECEC

Donna M. Perry, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine
·3 min read

Apr. 14—JAY — The Planning Board voted Tuesday to accept an application for a shoreland zoning permit as complete for the New England Clean Energy Connect Transmission corridor.

About 7 miles of the proposed 145.1 mile high-voltage, direct current transmission line from the Quebec border to Lewiston is to run through Jay, though not all of it falls under the town's Shoreland Zoning Ordinance. The line would connect to the New England power grid to bring "clean, renewable energy to Massachusetts consumers," according to developers. The cost is estimated at about $1 billion.

The line is capable of delivering up to 1,200 megawatts of electric generation.

The board set a public hearing on the application for 6 p.m. May 4, tentatively to be held at the Spruce Mountain Elementary School. Code Enforcement Officer Ronda Palmer said she needed to check to see if the school is available and if not, to find out where it could be held.

The board will continue its deliberation at 6 p.m. May 18 to focus on Land Use Standards and Administration sections the ordinance. The location of the meeting is to be determined.

The project crosses resource protection, limited residential, and stream protection districts in Jay and is considered an essential service under the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance

The first permit was submitted under Central Maine Power Co. in January 2020 but that one was withdrawn by the company last year. The Planning Board tabled the application in February 2020 until the company had all of its permits. A new permit was submitted by New England Clean Energy Connect to the town on March 22 with minor changes.

The section in Jay extends for about 7.09 miles from Turmel Road at the Livermore Falls town line through Jay and into Chesterville. The project will be co-located with the existing transmission line and built entirely on land that CMP owns and over which NECEC holds an easement, according to the company's application.

New poles will be installed with an average height of 97 feet in 41 locations within the existing corridor in Jay. Thirty-eight of the pole locations will involve installation of self-weathering steel single poles that will be directly embedded into the ground . The remaining three locations will involve the installation of two self-weathering steel poles at each location.

The existing CMP corridor will be widened by 75 feet and will involve removing trees over 47 acres.

The project crosses the Resource Protection District around the Fuller Brook north and south of Belanger Road and will involve the installation of four new transmission line poles. The project crosses the Stream Protection District along James Brook, about a half-mile south of Belanger Road, with no poles to be installed there. One new transmission line pole will be installed in the Resource Protection district along an unnamed tributary of Clay Brook, about 0.08 miles north of the Livermore Falls line. The project crosses the Limited Residential District, but no poles will be installed, according to the company.