Three Amish businessmen came to the Whitefield Planning Board on Wednesday, Nov. 14 with plans to build three separate commercial buildings. The board approved one application and will review the other two at its next meeting.
Eli Troyer, of Grand Army Road, near Benner Lane, submitted a development application and notice to build for a 50-foot-by-120-foot building on Mills Road.
“Eli wants to go into sheet-metal roofing, where he gets sheet-metal roofing in stock sizes and cuts it to order,” board Chair Jim Torbert said. “I know there is a similar operation up in Unity in the Amish community up there. It seems to be one of their stock enterprises.”
To do his work, Troyer will use a machine powered by an engine with a belt drive.
The single-story building will sit on a concrete slab and will have a wooden frame and metal sides.
The planning board first heard of the plans at its previous meeting, Oct. 17.
The ordinance does not require Troyer to notify abutters, according to Torbert.
Troyer wants to build a second driveway for his property, for which he will need approval from the Maine Department of Transportation. The board approved his application and notice to build under the condition he does not build a second driveway without DOT approval.
Mose Yoder, of 712 East River Road, and Noah Hostetler, of 205 Gardiner Road, each went before the board for pre-application consultations. They plan to complete development applications and notices to build and bring them to the board’s next meeting, Dec. 19.
Yoder and Hostetler currently have businesses, but need buildings for their work, both for storage and because of the cooling temperatures. Torbert said they have been storing tools and materials under tarps.
Both businesses are on the same property as the applicants’ residences.
Mose Yoder plans to build a 36-foot-by-60-foot pole barn for use as a sawmill.
Yoder said he is working with the DOT on driveways and entrances for his new building.
Yoder will need to list the types of fuels he will use for his sawmill and submit a spill containment plan.
The board decided Yoder needs to inform his abutters and neighbors across the street about the sawmill because of the amount of noise it will make.
“If you’re running a sawmill, I think it ought to be running during normal business hours,” board member Stephen Sheehy said.
“If anybody says, ‘I want a public hearing,’ that would be reasonable, but if they don’t, then I don’t think we have to,” Sheehy said.
Hostetler wants to build a pole barn, where he will build wooden sheds. He will also use the building for storage. The building will measure 48 feet by 112 feet.
The buildings will be across the street from Hostetler’s residence, where he currently builds sheds under the name N.L. Sheds & Cabins.
His work will produce limited noise from hammering and a table saw, Hostetler said. The board decided he will not need to inform abutters before building.
Whitefield has a relatively new Amish population, which is rapidly growing. The first three families arrived in March 2017. As of August of this year, the town had 13 families and about 50 people in all. Many of the newcomers own and operate businesses.
“The fact they’re being conscientious about jumping through these hoops is very encouraging, and not everybody has been, so I’m glad that they are doing this,” board Chair Jim Torbert said of the Amish businessmen.
(Correction: An earlier version of this article online and on the front page of the Nov. 22 print edition incorrectly reported the location where Eli Troyer plans to construct a building for his business. He plans to construct the building on Mills Road, not Grand Army Road. The Lincoln County News regrets the error.)