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CMP to move utility poles, preserve Harpswell vista

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CMP to move utility poles, preserve Harpswell vista

HARPSWELL — One man's effort to preserve a scenic vista has prevailed.

Central Maine Power Co. has agreed to move four recently installed utility poles that were partially obstructing the west view of Long Reach Marsh along Route 24 after resident John Boomer expressed his concerns to the Board of Selectmen in October.

"There are four new poles that have just been installed on the west side of Route 24, and I feel they will significantly impact the view of the marsh,"Boomer said at the Oct. 17 meeting. "Although I'm in favor of improving electrical/telephone/cable TV reliability in Harpswell, this doesn't seem to be part of it. "

He asked town officials to look into it, and they did.

Town Administrator Kristi Eiane contacted CMP, and the company agreed to halt utility work in that area to determine if it could move the new utility poles to where the existing ones were, across the road.

CMP spokesman Jon Carroll said they were able to do just that.

Carroll said on Friday the company has agreed to move the poles to their original alignment. And while the move will incur some minor costs for CMP, he said, it was not a major factor in the final decision.

Carroll said the new utility work is part of a three-year $3 million infrastructure upgrade for Harpswell, and it will improve the grid's reliability. The upgrade is in its second year, he said, and the work runs from Cundy's Harbor Road to just below Gun Point Cove on Orr's Island.

Carroll said the main reason for installing the new utility poles in the new location was to improve maintenance access. The existing poles sat on top of a large chunk of rock, he said, where they are hard to reach.

But as it turns out, he said, CMP made an oversight in choosing the location for the new poles.

Carroll said CMP would have had to go through a Planning Board permitting process to plant the poles in those spots because of Harpswell's shoreland zoning ordinance.

"Isn't it wonderful that we can protect the beautiful vistas of Harpswell for current residents and future generations?" Boomer said Friday. "I would like to thank all the utilities (workers) and officials involved in this effort."

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or dmartin@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.