ROME — The planning board is preparing for a December vote on a proposed summer camp on Long Pond, as residents opposed to the project organize against it.

Members of the planning board reviewed an updated site plan and noise survey for the project at a meeting last week, a review that was delayed two months. According to planning board co-chairman Dick Greenan, John Schlosser, the board’s other co-chairman who lives on Peninsula Drive across the cove from the proposed camp, recused himself from the discussion and vote.

David Porter, of Sudbury, Massachusetts, earlier this year submitted an application to build Camp Caruso for separated male siblings living in foster families. The camp would hold four 10-day sessions for 48 kids at a time. Plans for the camp include log cabins, sports fields, a dining hall, office, parking lot and amphitheater.

The planning board expects to vote on the camp at its meeting on Monday, Dec. 14, according to Greenan.

The camp would be on 15 acres of a 68-acre parcel Porter owns off Watson Pond Road in the north end of Long Pond.

Under Rome’s commercial ordinance, noise produced by a development can’t exceed 55 decibels when recorded at the boundary with adjacent properties. As a comparison, 60 decibels is usually considered the noise level of a normal conversation in public.

Porter amended site plans to move sports fields 300 feet back from the property line in order to fulfill the noise standard, but the survey did not take into account noise that might be created at the waterfront, according to Greenan.

“We all know human voices travel across water,” Greenan said. Noise from the proposed camp is one of the biggest concerns for residents opposed to the project, he added.

The town has hired Bodwell EnviroAcoustics, a sound testing company from Brunswick, to peer review the study. The board hopes to have results in time for its Dec. 14 meeting.

Porter and his attorney, Sarah McDaniel, of Westbrook, did not return voicemails left on Monday. In previous interviews Porter has said he did not expect resistance to the project and has been put off by residents’ confrontational attitude.

Seasonal and year-round residents have been opposed to the camp project since Porter submitted the application this spring. Opponents of the project have sent dozens of letters to the planning board and voiced their opposition to the plan at a public hearing and planning board meetings over the summer.

Concerned Citizens of Beaver Cove, a group that includes most residents of Beaver Cove, has hired John Shumadine, a Portland attorney specializing in land use issues, to look over the application.

Reached by phone Monday, Shumadine said that so far, the camp hasn’t provided any evidence that it will meet the noise standard. The survey produced for the camp only took into account noise generated on the sports field, not elsewhere at the camp, Shumadine said. That means that Camp Caruso is either “the most boring camp in the world,” where campers can only speak on the sports field, or the survey didn’t consider all sources of noise, including noise on the shorefront.

“We think the project can’t meet the standards that are out there, particularly the noise standard,” Shumadine said.

“I think it all combines to show that although it certainly is a worthy project, it’s not a good fit for the ordinances that are in place to govern it,” he said.

Greenan said the planning board is likely to present and vote on findings of fact on the application at its meeting next month and should vote on whether to approve the project. The findings of fact are a list of items that include 18 different criteria the project needs to meet to satisfy the commercial ordinance, Greenan said. Those criteria include whether the project will create noise, glare or smoke that could affect abutters, Greenan said. The project also has to conform to the town’s shoreland zoning ordinance.

Greenan said the board would vote on each item to determine if the project meets all the requirements rather than a single “blanket” vote to approve or deny the application. If one item doesn’t satisfy the review criteria, the application will be denied, Greenan said.

The line-item review “just makes it more systematic, so we leave no stone unturned,” Greenan said. “It forces the planning to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s.”

It will be important for the planning board to show it has done its due diligence if the application ends up in front of the town’s appeals board or in litigation, Greenan said.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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