Family that wanted to build world’s tallest flagpole to pay $250K fine for cabins

Feb 28, 2024, 11:48 AM

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The family that had wanted to build the world’s tallest flagpole in rural eastern Maine has agreed to pay a $250,000 penalty under a consent agreement following construction of more than 50 cabins without obtaining environmental permits from the state.

The Board of Environmental Protection signed off Wednesday on the consent agreement signed late last month by Morrill Worcester, patriarch of the family whose company owns the land.

The Flagpole View Cabins were built from 2019 to 2022 in sparsely populated Columbia Falls near the site where the family wanted to build a flagpole taller than the Empire State Building. The flagpole was to be a centerpiece of a billion-dollar development honoring veterans.

Under the consent agreement, the company must file an after-the-fact application by Friday for a permit for the work that was already completed.

An attorney for the Worcester family said the development was purposefully kept small to avoid the need for a special permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Developers obtained necessary local permits and caused no environmental damage, attorney Timothy Pease said.

“The Worcester family and its associated businesses first and foremost wish to have a good working relationship with all federal, state and local regulatory agencies. In this case they feel it is in everyone’s best interest to avoid litigation and move forward,” Pease said Wednesday in a statement.

The Worcester family announced about a month ago that it was abandoning plans for the flagpole, which would have been a sprawling monument with the names of all veterans who’ have died since the American Revolution, and a village with living history museums, a 4,000-seat auditorium and restaurants.

The Worcester family — which is behind Worcester Wreath Co. and Wreaths Across America, which provide hundreds of thousands of wreaths to military cemeteries and gravesites around the world — had touted the project as away to unite people and honor veterans.

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Family that wanted to build world’s tallest flagpole to pay $250K fine for cabins