GOULDSBORO — Tuesday’s storm, freezing drizzle and ice-encrusted roads did not keep the Planning Board from holding a public hearing and unanimously approving entrepreneur and conservationist Roxanne Quimby’s proposed Ocean Wood Event Center in Birch Harbor.
The venue is located off East Schoodic Drive within the former Oceanwood at Schoodic Point property that Quimby acquired in 2016.
Only three local residents attended the hearing, which took less than 15 minutes. The board voted 6-0 to approve Quimby’s special events center housed in a remodeled barn.
Quimby’s longtime properties manager Heath Barnes represented her at the meeting. Over the past four years, Barnes and his son Aaron stabilized and completely refurbished the gambrel-roofed barn where campground equipment formerly was stored.
When she first acquired the Birch Harbor property, Quimby initially had contemplated possibly reopening the former campground as a commercial venture for tenting and small, self-contained campers. Extensive research, however, into the cost of refurbishing and bringing into compliance the property’s original infrastructure, anticipated staffing and the operation’s long-term scenic and environmental impact convinced her over time not to pursue that option.
In an interview late last year, Quimby noted the Schoodic Peninsula already has Acadia National Park’s Schoodic Woods campground as well as facilities for RVers.
“It started getting out of proportion to what I wanted to do and what I could break even on. It would have been a huge enterprise,” she said. “I just didn’t want to do it. I thought the property was better left alone and undisturbed.”