Environmental assessments needed

To the editor,

Thompson Road runs between Alfred Road and Route 35 in West Kennebunk. Dan King photo

Another significant land development project is slated for Kennebunk: the vast, magnificent wetland field on Thompson Road in West Kennebunk. It is breathtaking in size and home to countless species of plants and wildlife. The subdivision sketch plan application before the Kennebunk Planning Board this week details, for starters, development of more than 27 acres for two lots, 13 units. The proposed work will bisect valuable wetlands and adversely affect the complex waterways of this tremendous open space.

This week, the planning board did not accept public comments. However, I have two urgent requests: First, to require environmental assessments prior to any proposed groundbreaking, as this property has been privately held and has not been properly surveyed by an unbiased source. Second, to consider a temporary moratorium on such projects and request town planning staff to look at Kennebunk’s land development over the last five, 10, 20 years as a whole.

We desperately need an overall assessment of all of the upland forests that have been razed; all of the wetlands and vernal pools that have been filled; all of the waterways that have been purposely or inadvertently polluted by runoff or filled in; all of the fields in which bird/mammal/insect-supporting grasses, sedges, and wildflowers have been torn up. Then the total acreage of loss must be publicly stated.

Only after this summation can evidence-based decisions be made about what could be developed, somehow justifying the loss of plant and wildlife biodiversity, carbon release by deforestation, Kennebunk’s overall contribution to global warming, and the shear visual impact on all of us. At this time, there is no overall sense of the grand total – because Kennebunk’s land loss is incremental. And incremental, piecemeal loss of habitat is the most insidious of all.


I know the Thompson Road field is a longtime nesting area for bobolinks, a Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife species of special concern. This bird is particularly vulnerable to becoming a threatened species due to declining numbers and habitat loss. Developing this property will assure its decline.

Think about the loss of open spaces and forests since you’ve lived here. Please contact the planning board, select board and town manager about unrestrained land development in Kennebunk.

Susan A. Bloomfield

West Kennebunk

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