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State Approves Moosehead Region Plan; Protesters Arrested 

After several years of meetings, the Land Use Regulation Commission Wednesday granted a request by developer Plum Creek to rezone tens of thousands of acres in the Moosehead Lake region.LURC’s vote was unanimous. The reaction to the news at the meeting in Bangor today was mixed, and the opposition– at times, heated.LURC members say after many revisions by Plum Creek, they’re proud of the concept plan for the Moosehead region.”This plan requires conservation easements the likes of which this commission and the state of Maine have never seen. We now have completely re-written it to guarantee permanent, public access for recreation. And it enhances resource protection for more than 400-thousand acres of land,” says LURC Chairman Bart Harvey.They say the plan guides growth in the region to the appropriate areas. Plum Creek’s plans include building nearly one thousand private housing lots and a resort at Lily Bay.Project Manager Luke Muzzy says they have no immediate plans to start building.”Any specific development still has to go through a review process in the future. So there’s still a lot of work to do in the next thirty years. We always said this was going to be a long-term plan, and it will be,” Muzzy says.He says they’ll also deal with any opposition as it arises. Members of the the groups The Forest Ecology Network and RESTORE: The North Woods say they plan to appeal LURC’s decision.”LURC has failed in its mission. We feel very strongly that the courts will hear that argument. We can point out specific missteps and breaches of regulatory procedure,” says Jonathan Carter, director of the Forest Ecology Network.An act of civil disobedience briefly disrupted the proceedings. Protesters say the development threatens the environment in the region. Six people were arrested, and charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.”Different people have different visions for that area,” Muzzy says. “We have compromised a great deal but I guess some folks just want to see their vision happen.”