PHIPPSBURG — A video posted on Facebook late Tuesday afternoon appears to show a crane on a barge removing pilings from Popham Beach.

The Maine Board of Environmental Protection’s 6-1 decision, issued in December 2017, allowed Jackson and Susan Parker to remove 150 pilings near their summer home on Popham Beach. The Parkers live in Woolwich, where Jackson is chief executive officer for construction firm Reed & Reed. They also own property at Popham Beach that overlooks the pilings.

In September 2017, the Parkers applied for permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Environmental Protection to remove the pilings, citing erosion of the beach as their main concern.

The pilings are what remains of a pier used by the Eastern Steamship Lines company. Long since abandoned, the dilapidated pilings have slowly deteriorated over time. Many in the community, however, find them aesthetically pleasing as a reminder of what used to be.

The Army Corps permit was granted quickly, but the state permit was not granted until several months after the application had first been submitted. In the interim, there were meetings organized in the community to discuss opposition to their removal, both of which Parker attended.

After the DEP permit was granted, the Phippsburg selectmen filed a last-minute appeal, listing the town, Ethan Deberry and Rafael and Victoria Villamil, who are next-door neighbors to the Parkers and whose property also overlooks the pilings, as the appellants. The appeal listed a number of reasons to overturn the permit: The scenic value and historical nature of the pilings, the lack of public comment or a public hearing, the failure to notify abutters, inconsistent data on the effects of removing the pilings, and the property rights status of the pilings.

“One of their big concerns is that the pilings are a scenic resource in the town,” said attorney Jessica Maher, speaking on behalf of selectmen in 2017. The department, however, had previously determined that under National Recreation and Park Association guidelines the pilings were not scenic, and the board did not overturn that determination.

Tuesday’s video on Facebook could not yet be independently verified as of Wednesday morning. However, reaction on the “I LOVE Popham Beach” Facebook page was extremely negative.

One comment by Michael Murtha, whose profile lists him as a Lisbon resident, wrote: “Disgusted — how can this be allowed to happen!”

This is a developing story.

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