Lamoine, a quaint town renowned for its serene rural character, is on the precipice of a crucial decision that could shape its future landscape and potentially redefine its relationship with the glamping industry.
The catalyst for this pivotal moment is a proposal for a luxury glamping resort — or ‘glampground’ — by Clear Sky Resorts, an Arizona-based company.
Local opposition to this development proposal has triggered the possibility of a temporary development moratorium, which residents will consider at an upcoming town meeting on August 15.
Clear Sky Resorts unveiled their ambitious blueprint in January, aiming to carve out a high-end camping resort on 12 acres of a 230-acre parcel situated on Partridge Cove.
The proposal features a vision of opulent, dome-shaped lodgings packed with amenities such as electricity, running water, and air conditioning.
The high-end camping resort, dubbed “Clear Sky Acadia,” would bear more resemblance to a hotel than a traditional campsite, and even include added facilities like a restaurant, spa, and specialized ‘activity domes’ dedicated to stargazing and birdwatching.
However, the proposal has been met with stiff resistance from a significant section of the local community, galvanized by the local nonprofit organization, Growing Lamoine Responsibly.
Founded in May, this group emerged as a direct response to Clear Sky Resorts’ proposal and initiated the proposed six-month development moratorium.
The moratorium, if passed, would not just affect Clear Sky Resorts, but it would have sweeping implications for the private campground owners and glamping operators in Lamoine. It would temporarily suspend hotel, motel, glampground, and resort development in the area, possibly slowing down the recent surge in interest in the region’s glamping industry.
Growing Lamoine Responsibly’s founder, Amy Morley, has emphasized that their contention also lies with the Planning Board’s review process for the Clear Sky Acadia application.
They assert that approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection should have been sought prior to the application’s substantive review, a step that was not taken. If the moratorium is implemented, Morley hopes it would provide an opportunity for the town officials to revisit and revise the existing ordinances about campground developments.
Opponents to Clear Sky’s proposal fear that such development would alter the town’s rural and isolated charm — one of the very reasons Hal Feinberg, owner of Clear Sky Resorts, found Lamoine attractive. Critics have also expressed concerns regarding potential strains on infrastructure, heightened water usage, and the precedent it might set for future development.
Feinberg countered these concerns by highlighting his company’s commitment to environmental stewardship. He asserted the company’s intention to respect the local environment and even make it a focal point of visitor education.
This impending decision aligns with a broader trend among Maine municipalities that are looking to impose restrictions on significant building projects.
Morley remains hopeful about the moratorium’s passage and looks forward to the participation of Lamoine residents in the revision of the town’s ordinances. However, the proposal has taken Feinberg by surprise, and he has pledged to explore all avenues with his company’s attorneys.
The outcome of this controversy will undoubtedly shape the future of Lamoine and its burgeoning glamping industry.