Concerns about West Kennebunk development

To the editor,

A massive development is in the planning stages in West Kennebunk. Kingsland Development, represented by Jason Vafiades from Atlantic Resource Consultants, is situated west of Route 35 at the north end of Thompson Road. 

Land was purchased over the past two years with the intent to build new single-family homes in four to six phases. Each phase, according to Mr. Vafiades, will be between 20 to 30 lots after the initial 40. The total is estimated at over 100 houses. The potential is greater, as Mr. Vafiades suggested during the March 29 planning board meeting, indicating that more land is available – Mullen’s farm and the Howard’s Truman’s Field were mentioned. My feeling was that there is no end in sight.

My concerns are many. Perhaps one or more will concern you: Each lot is to have its own septic field as there is no sewer out there. Traffic will increase on Thompson Road and certainly Route 35 to the turnpike. There is no public transportation. Every trip anywhere will be in a vehicle. It is possible that those main roads might have to be improved to handle the increased volume.

The development will strain the relatively small West K fire/rescue resources. Are there enough police officers to cover that area? In all probability, the eventual homeowners association will petition Kennebunk to assume maintenance of their roads. Town taxes will likely be raised to support the infrastructure of this immense development as developments never pay for themselves. The lot plans do not look like existing-road hugging, land-preserving, cluster-development to me. Will any of these parcels be dedicated to low-income buyers?

The colossal deforestation will contribute to carbon stock loss affecting climate change. Two stream crossings were mentioned over Ward Brook, which flows into the Kennebunk River, potentially affecting fish stocks and water quality. This project will add to the unabated destruction of southern Maine wetlands. Several miles of impervious asphalt will create storm water issues, which in turn will affect water quality for Ward Brook, Kennebunk River and any remaining wetlands.

Wildlife concerns are many, including more losses of already declining amphibians and mammals. Bird populations have fallen by nearly 40 percent in Maine in the past 52 years largely because of habitat loss, dwindling breeding habitat and forest fragmentation. The mixed woods and openings in this area likely support declining populations of breeding American woodcock, ruffed grouse, barred and great-horned owls, great-crested and alder flycatchers, wood and hermit thrushes, veerys, scarlet tanagers, ovenbirds, common yellowthroat, Nashville warblers … I can go on. Heard a whippoorwill lately? If there are any left in southern Maine, they’d be in there.

If any of these matters concern you, you are a stakeholder and your involvement is critical.

The planning board meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. Meetings are streamed on Kennebunk’s public access channel and are archived for viewing anytime.

Susan A. Bloomfield

West Kennebunk