Brunswick resident Nicolette Williams said the logging started in her neighborhood on June 5. The logging, which has sparked concerns of safety and environmental impact prompted many residents to call for intervention from the town.

Brunswick residents have raised safety and environmental concerns after contractors started deforesting a tract of land in early June, prompting a heated special town meeting Thursday.

The afternoon meeting drew neighbors and local officials to Town Hall to review town ordinances and forestry guidelines. Councilors Sande Updegraph, Steven Weems, Stephen Walker, Abbey King (who lives near the logging operation) and a handful of other town and county officials attended.

The logging, which started on June 5, according to one resident, Nicolette Williams, is happening on land owned by Wyley Enterprises, LLC. As of June 20, she said trees have been cut down throughout the strip of land, which borders a subdivision on Arrowhead Drive.

District Forester Shane Duigan said at Thursday’s meeting that he received a complaint about the logging two weeks ago and the operation was up to code as of his last visit to the site.

Some residents said they were not against development but noted that the pace of changes coming to the property were concerning. Many also said that while the operation may be legal, it felt unethical, citing safety and environmental concerns.

Councilor Walker, who is also the executive director of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, said that the property is located in a residential growth zoning district, a region where the town allows for development. He also noted that he has no evidence that any rules have been broken.


‘I don’t accept the fact that there is nothing that can be done’

Residents have been raising the alarm for nearly a week. At the June 17 Town Council meeting, several people, including two children, used public comment to call on the town to act. One resident, Nathan Hintze, asked the council to enact a temporary moratorium on logging within a hundred feet of a residential property, citing safety and environmental concerns.

It’s hard to wrap my head around that there are no protections, no safety requirements for commercial timber harvesting in a residentially zoned area,” Hintze said. “I don’t accept the fact that there is nothing that can be done to keep my family and the public safe.” 

Dave Brooks, who has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years and has been involved with environmental issues for over 40 years, told The Times Record on Tuesday that his family has used the logging lot as an access point to the nearby Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust property for years. 

“In a time where we’re concerned about development and overdevelopment, to do things like that is kind of not what I’m used to. I mean, I’ve worked with a lot of developers over the years, and I don’t recall seeing something like this,” Brooks said, referring to the sudden logging, of which he said no neighbors were notified. He also expressed concern over natural water resources on the land, such as vernal pools and wetlands.

Vernal pools, also known as spring pools, are a natural bodies of water that often form in dips of land in the spring or fall. The pools, which are often associated with forest wetlands, provide breeding habitats for amphibians and other wildlife, according to Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Plans for the land

Joel Fitzpatrick of Wyley Enterprises, a company based in Harpswell, bought the 24-acre site in February, according to the county deed registry. He said that he plans to develop the land, likely with housing, in the next few years, and hopes to keep portions of the lot undeveloped and allow for access to the BTLT property.


The long-time developer said that he hired a third party to map vernal pools and wetlands earlier this spring and has instructed the logging company he hired to avoid them.

The DEP notes on its website that not all vernal pools are considered “significant” for wildlife. In order to be considered significant, a rare or threatened species has to use the pool for a vital part of its life cycle, or there is an “abundance of wildlife” located at the pool, according to the DEP.

Fitzpatrick said that neither rare species nor abundant wildlife were found in the reports from the mapping that occurred earlier this spring. The Times Record has requested a copy of the reports, which Fitzpatrick said he may provide at a later date.

“It’s a pretty basic land owner right to come here and cut some trees,” Fitzpatrick said, noting that he is used to resistance in the development process. “So, that’s what we’re doing here.”

Logging is expected to be completed by June 30.

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