The state Board of Environmental Protection voted 5-0 on Thursday to uphold the Department of Environmental Protection’s decision to permit the construction of a train layover facility in Brunswick.

The board, which is made up of seven citizens appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature, rejected an appeal filed by a group of residents who live near the site where the 60,000-square-foot train shed is now under construction. Consigli Construction is building the $12.4 million facility for the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority.

The rail authority says the layover facility will allow for more frequent and efficient Downeaster service because trains could be stored overnight in Brunswick rather than return each night to Portland.

Many neighbors had opposed the project because of concerns about noise and pollution. A group of them appealed the DEP decision in June to approve the stormwater management plan submitted by the rail authority.

Charles Wallace Jr., an environmental engineer who owns a company that abuts the site of the layover shed, criticized the board’s decision, saying that the board displayed a lack of objective analysis.

“What we saw today is the board basically affirming the destruction of a residential neighborhood adjacent to the Brunswick maintenance and railroad facility,” he said.

Wallace, spokesman for a group called the Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition, said members of the group will now discuss whether they want to appeal the board’s decision to the Maine Superior Court. Maine law stipulates that an appeal must be filed within 30 days.


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