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Company behind now-defunct flagpole project faces DEP fines over cabin development

The family-owned company that once envisioned building the world's tallest flagpole in rural Down East now faces a fine from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The Maine DEP said Worcester Holdings violated site and erosion control laws when it stripped about seven wooded acres and built a development of 52 cabins, parking areas and a restaurant without applying for and securing the proper permits.

The department detailed the violations in proposed consent agreement with Worcester Holdings. Under the agreement, the company would pay a $250,000 fine and submit an after-the-fact permit application for the development.

The DEP first inspected the Columbia Falls property in 2022 and found that the cabins had been built without seeking approval. The DEP notified the company about the violations later that summer. But a year later, the department observed a sign advertising that the cabins were still in operation, and raised the issue with Maine's attorney general.

The company periodically used the cabins as worker housing, and began renting them out seasonally two years ago. The cabins were advertised as a spot where guests could view the progress of the world's tallest flagpole, but the project has been dropped.

The Board of Environmental Protection is expected to vote on the proposed consent agreement next week. A request to an attorney representing the Worcester family seeking comment was not immediately returned.