Town of Lamoine, Maine
The Official Website of Lamoine's Town Government
Lamoine Planning Board
Minutes of November 13, 2012
Planning Board Members Present: Holt, Bamman, Gallagher, Donaldson, Tadema-Wielandt, Fowler (alt), Weber (alt)
Code Enforcement Officer Present: M. Jordan
Members of the Public P. MacQuinn, S. Salsbury, E. Bearor, Antonio Blasi
Permit application for one of these, the “Little B&H Pit” (Map 9, Lot 7) was tabled at the October 2 meeting, pending resolution of two issues:
- the Board's request for truck logs to verify volume of gravel removal for 2011; and
- revision of the map to indicate a 50 foot setback along the remainder of the northerly boundary and plans to restore this area in the next three years.
The Board agreed to take this matter off the table as the applicant has provided new information:
Relating to issue (i.), S. Salsbury provided removal data for 2012 and a statement that the company does not retain truck logs. Given that the company removed 360 cubic yards in 2012, the Board was satisfied that this is an “active pit”.
Relating to issue (ii.), the new map clearly delineates the 50 foot setback in yellow and Salsbury indicated the applicant's intention to grade this area and restore it over the next three years.
Donaldson (Bamman) moved to grant the permit with the following condition: "The applicant is permitted to remove material between the 10-foot and 50-foot lines only to the extent that a 2.5:1 slope will be maintained; b) shall bring all slopes steeper than 2.5:1 to the required slope of 2.5:1; and c) shall restore all slopes after they have been properly graded." Motion carried 5-0.
Recusal Question. Chair Holt addressed the applicant's request from the October 2 meeting that he “recuse himself from the review of this application.” (as stated in 9/17/12 letter from applicant's lawyer, E. Bearor, to Stephen Salsbury, included in the permit application, page 169.) J. Holt read a statement presenting his reasoning that he need not recuse himself from participating in the review. In essence, his position as Treasurer and license-holder for the Cold Spring Water Company abutting the proposed operations does not, in his opinion, constitute a basis for either a conflict of interest or bias, as claimed by the applicant. He further argued that the interests of the Cold Spring Water Company and those of the town to protect the quantity and quality of groundwater are identical. He concluded by noting his record of decisions on previous gravel applications, including one for the current operations on Map 3, Lots 31 and 33, demonstrate no bias against gravel operations.
Chair Holt then asked if other members of the Planning Board wanted to make a statement or a motion regarding the matter of his recusal. The following points were made:
- Gallagher read a statement indicating his judgment that neither he nor J. Holt were in a position that he felt constituted a confict of interest.
- Tadema-Wielandt expressed the opinion that, in his judgment, J. Holt has conducted his business on the Board without bias and in compliance with the dictates of town ordinance. He nevertheless felt that the “appearance of a conflict of interest” on the part of J. Holt, as an officer of the Cold Spring Water Company, leaves the Board's decision vulnerable to an appeal by the applicant that could be time-consuming and cost the town money.
- Bamman reviewed the Maine Municipal Association's summary on conflict of interest and on bias, concluding that he saw no basis for a conflict of interest claim but that he felt there may be more reason to support a bias claim.
- Fowler stated that he was confident that J. Holt would never “vote not with the ordinance” but was worried about the impact on the town of a possible appeal.
- Donaldson expressed support for the arguments presented by J. Holt in his statement, adding that it was incumbent on Holt and the entire Board to ensure that the review and decision process follow the rules of evidence and the procedures laid out in the ordinances.
Tadema-Wielandt (Bamman) moved that J. Holt not be permitted to chair or participate as a member of the Planning Board in the permit application review and decisions pertaining to the Harold MacQuinn, Inc., application Map 3, Lots 31 and 33.
In discussion, Tadema-Wielandt explained that he was concerned that “the appearance of bias is enough to give the applicant a chance to succeed at an appeal.”
Motion failed, 1-3 (Bamman, Gallagher, Donaldson; Holt not voting)
E. Bearor, counsel to the applicant, stated that it “was not Harold MacQuinn's intention to appeal this decision” and that “we would rather the Board approve the application. He asserted that it was their goal and expectation that they “would be treated fairly”.
Application Presentation. S. Salsbury presented an overview of the project: to expand the current operation by approximately 45 acres, bringing the total operation to 100-110 acres of the roughly 140 acres in the two lots. Transfer of property from Miro to the applicant will permit H. MacQuinn Inc. to expand the area covered by the Site Plan Review towards the south beyond the crest of the hill; gravel operations would commence on the new southerly border and work toward the north (see Map E 1.0).
Site Plan Review Application Completeness Review
The Board read through the checklist and made a positive finding that all items were present with the exception of the following:
I-2. No map is at the scale of 1” = 50 feet. No stable base transparent original is present. The Board agrees that this transparent original can be submitted once the deliberations are complete.
I-3e. No information about the status of the property tax payment is present.
I-3f. All professional who prepared the plan are not listed.
I-4b. Bearings and distances are not present for the western boundaries of the two lots.
I-4e. The wetlands study referenced in footnote #9 has not been completed.
I-5e. Descriptions, with map references, were not found for “proposed berm and planting s in proposed buffer areas described above”.
During the review, a number of other questions were raised, including:
- Whether the purchase and sale agreement with the Miros was current past the Nov. 1, 2012 termination date (I-3e)
- Whether sewers should be added to the maps (I-4b)
- Whether the setbacks from the two right-of-ways must be marked (I-4d and I-5d)
- Whether the site walk and further study will reveal more “special features” (I-4e and I-5l)
Donaldson (Tadema-Wielandt) moved that the Site Plan Review Application is incomplete. Motion carried 5-0.
A Site Walk was scheduled for Saturday, November 17 at 9 a.m.
b. Gravel Extraction Permit Application
The Board read through the checklist to ascertain if all required information was included. The Board found that the application contained information pertaining to all requirements.
Confusion arose, however, regarding Requirement #5, “map indicating previous excavation, anticipated excavation, restored areas, and closed areas”. J. Holt noted that maps E1.0 and C1.0 show setbacks around the entire property, but not on the road right-of-way on the eastern end of the parcel. Donaldson expressed confusion about the precise boundaries of the Site Plan and Gravel proposals.
The Board requested that the applicant resubmit maps E1.0 and C1.0 and 2.0 to more clearly designate E1.0 as the primary map for the Gravel Permit Application and maps C 1.0 and 2.0 as the primary maps for the Site Plan Review Application. Each should clearly and accurately indicate the boundaries of the current operations/permits and the boundaries of the expansions proposed. Neither map should show a setback around the entire parcel.
The Board further requested that all references to maps in the application text specify which of the maps is being referenced.
The Board indicated that item #12 on the checklist would be subject to the Site Walk and future study of this application.
Holt (Gallagher) moved to find the Gravel Extraction Permit application complete with the understanding that more information may be called for in the future. Motion carried, 5-0.
Site Walk scheduled for November 17 at 9 a.m.
The revisions to the Gravel Extraction Ordinance are in the final stages. The Board agreed to hold a workshop December 12 at 6:30 (location TBA) in order to ratify all changes and be ready to hold public information meetings in January and February, prior to a vote of the town at Town Meeting.
Gordon Donaldson, Secretary