Public expresses concern over development on Fish River chain of lakes

CARIBOU, Maine - Irving put forth a plan to the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) identifying locations along the Fish River chain of lakes for development opportunities. That could mean new camp sites along the lakes or lakeside resorts.

Tuesday night was an opportunity for the public to voice their opinions and concerns about the development. Sarah Anderson is the owner of North Star Variety in New Sweden and says that commercial development on Square Lake could directly impact her business.

"We have a lot of folks who either have camps on Square who stop in at our business and to pick up their last minute supplies their tackle their bait," said Anderson. "And if there's commercial development on Square that would certainly have a large impact on our business. The stuff that they traditionally stop and get from us, they'll be able to pick up right at the marina, where there going to have a resort and lodging. So that would be a large impact on us business wise."

Being so close to Square Lake, Anderson spends a great deal of time there. She says its one of the only lakes in Aroostook county where you can still find some peace and quiet.

"For us, Square Lake is an escape. There's very few places left with that total secluded feel to them. Irving says they'd like to preserve Square Lake, so that people could get a taste of what it was like 100 years ago. My husband and I really feel the best way to do that is to leave it the way it is. Once you start any development, whether it's more lots or commercialization, you slowly lose all those things that make it so great."

Nick Livesay is the Executive Director of the Land Use Planning Commission and says the LUPC is currently reviewing this proposal to make sure it meets all the standards.

"It's part of the overall concept plan that we're reviewing," said Livesay. "It's not just a development that's proposed. It's conservation and some general management zoning as well that would more or less preserve working for us for a 30 year term, which is the term of the concept plan."

The public hearing continues Thursday at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center and begins at 6 p.m.