Sugarloaf expansion on western slope gets preliminary approval

·2 min read

Sep. 16—CARRABASSETT VALLEY — The Planning Board voted unanimously Thursday night to give preliminary approval to Sugarloaf's initial plan to build 225 housing units, ski trails and a high-speed lift on the west side of the mountain.

"The purpose of the project is to employ a comprehensive master planning approach to further develop the western side of Sugarloaf Mountain to include additional ski trails for all abilities, skier services infrastructure, roads, bridges, parking lots, and housing consisting of condominiums, duplex-style townhomes and single-family lots," according to documents.

The board listed conditions that need to be met before it considers final approval. They include trash removal and propane gas locations for the bigger developments such as the proposed condominiums. Road names will also need to comply with town ordinances and E-911 addressing rules.

Ski area owner Boyne Resort is proposing to build 225 housing units, ski trails, a high-speed lift and about 140 acres of beginner and intermediate ski terrain, along with over 300 parking spaces.

The total land area of the project is about 450 acres, including 150 acres of trails, according to information provided. Utilities are proposed to be underground. Water and sewer will be provided by water and sanitary districts.

The board asked Code Enforcement Officer Chris Parks to seek legal counsel on whether the board can grant a waiver for the size of the parking spaces.

The town ordinance requires spaces to be 10 by 20 feet while the plan proposes 9 by 18 feet. According to engineers at the meeting and some Planning Board members, the typical industry standard is 9 by 18 feet.

Rick Dunton, director of engineering for Main-Land Development Consultants of Livermore Falls, said he checked on other ski resorts, and they are going with the smaller size and in some cases even smaller ones are allowed.

Jeffrey Aceto, a civil and environmental engineer, said he believed 9 by 18 feet would be adequate.

If a waiver can be issued, the applicant would need to submit a written request explaining the situation and justify why the larger spaces would cause a hardship. The Planning Board would need to include it in its finding of facts for the project, if they are allowed to grant a waiver.

The applicant will work toward developing a proposed final plan. Boyne is still working to obtain permits from the Maine Department of Environment Protection, Department Transportation and Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Sugarloaf representatives hope to have those permits in October or November.