ELLSWORTH — The Planning Board on March 3 will hear details of a proposed 10-acre gravel pit on a 45-acre North Street parcel, after E. Skip Grindle & Sons submitted a land development permit application to the city planning office earlier this month. The landscaping business currently has a small gravel pit and blueberry fields on the property (Tax Map 60, Lot 008), which abuts both Graham Lake and Grindle’s business at 485 North St. Everett “Skip” Grindle purchased the property last November from trustees of the Meredith A. Friend Trust.
The property lies in the rural and shoreland limited residential zones, where mineral extraction, including gravel pits, is an allowed use. But as a major use site development plan, the project requires approval by the Planning Board through the site plan review process. The March 3 meeting is considered a sketch plan meeting, which allows the applicant to hear feedback from the board before starting the more costly preliminary and final site plan review process.
The application states that the pits will be graded for internal drainage, capturing all stormwater runoff inside the pit area, which will then naturally soak back into the ground. Equipment to be used on the site include excavators, bulldozers, front-end loaders, mechanical and power screeners, dump trucks, pickup trucks, water trucks and hydroseeding equipment for restoration.
Hours of operation will be Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Natural buffers will be maintained along the road and lake, and no hazardous materials will be used outside of fuel for the equipment. A spill prevention control and containment plan has been submitted with the application.
No special city waivers are being sought for the proposed project, and the applicant will file a notice to comply with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection after Planning Board approval. The development cost is estimated at $15,000, and operation of the pit is set from March 2021 to December 2040.
The March 3 meeting will be held as a Zoom webinar. It will also be broadcast on the city of Ellsworth’s Facebook page and YouTube channel and Spectrum Channel 1303. Instructions on how to participate in the public hearing portion of the meeting will be posted on ellsworthmaine.gov that morning. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. The board will first hear a 10- to 15-minute introduction to the Ellsworth Green Plan, presented by Green Ellsworth, before considering the “Grindle Pit” sketch plan.