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Lamoine Planning Board

Minutes - February 5, 2013

Planning Board Members Present: Holt, Bamman, Gallagher, Donaldson, Tadema-Wielandt, Fowler (alt), Weber (alt)

Code Enforcement Officer Present: M. Jordan

Members of the Public - Michael Walsh (Summit Environmental Consultants), Mike Deyling (Summit Environmental), P. MacQuinn, S. Salsbury, Tara Hartson (Herrick and Salsbury), E. Bearor (attorney for the applicant), Elizabeth Boepple (attorney for Miro family), C. Korty, C. Gaianguest, Jeff Lamont, Lolly Lovett, David Schick, and a reporter (Ellsworth American)

  1. Chair Holt called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Holt asked if the Board wished to set a termination time for the meeting. After brief discussion, the board agreed by consensus not to take up any new agenda item after 10:00 p.m.
  2. Consideration of Minutes
    1. For January 8, 2013 Public Hearing on MacQuinn applications Gallagher (Bamman) moved to accept minutes as printed. Approved 5-0
    2. For January 8, 2013 Planning Board Meeting - Gallagher (Bamman) moved to accept minutes as printed. Approved 5-0
    3. For January 22, 2013 Informational Public Meeting on the Revised Lamoine Gravel Ordinance draft - Gallagher (Bamman) moved to accept minutes as printed. Approved 5-0
  3. Code Enforcement Officer's Report
    1. Permits Issued – No report made
    2. Enforcement Actions – No report made
  4. Conservation Commission - C. Korty announced that the Commission is in the final phase of its Open Space Report and invited all present to attend an information meeting on it February 13 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall. She also announced that the Commission is participating in the Frenchman's Bay Partners which has an expanded membership and agenda for addressing environmental and sustainability issues.
  5. Old Business
    1. Continued consideration of Site Plan Review and Gravel Extraction Permit Applications from Harold MacQuinn, Inc. (Map 3, Lots 31 & 33)

Holt reviewed the history of the applications and stated that, as per discussions with the applicant and the Board at the last meeting, this meeting was a) to give the applicant a full opportunity to present the applications in light of issues raised at the public hearing and previous discussions; and b) for the Planning Board to ask questions and make comments related to members' understanding of, and concerns about, the applications. He stated that he expected the meeting to be “a full one”, that the public had had the opportunity to speak at the public hearing and, thus, that he did not expect there to be opportunity for public comment.

Applicant Presentations

Attorney Bearor introduced the presentation by indicating that Summit Engineering had submitted a letter dated February 1, 2013 further clarifying the hydrogeological analysis. The letter was distributed to the Planning Board.

Bearor also reported that he had approached Glenn Manring, abutter to the proposed pit, and asked him to sign an affadavit describing a conversation he had with Chairman Holt in the fall. (See Jan 8, 2013 minutes.) Mr. Bearor distributed the affadavit to Board members and advanced the view that it offered further evidence that Mr. Holt has displayed “bias” in the process of the Board's consideration of these applications. He once again requested that Holt recuse himself from participation in that process. Mr. Holt declined to do so.

S. Salsbury gave brief oral statements describing how the Site Plan Review permit application met Performance Standards 1-8 of the Site Plan Review Ordinance (SPR).

M. Walsh did likewise for SPR Standard 9, summarizing that the pit is “internally drained”

M. Beyling did likewise for SPR Standard 10. His presentation was a detailed explanation, with diagrams, of his “interpretation” of the hydrology under the parcel – an interpretation that refuted the interpretation made by W. Brutsaert at the public hearing. He indicated that understanding groundwater flow and quality is “very complex” and that, because we cannot “readily” see it, our interpretations are always based on “limited evidence”. He has extensive experience in this work and led the Board through how he developed his interpretation that the groundwater under the “delta” sand and gravel deposit cannot be flowing into the recharge area of the Cold Spring Water Company (CSWC). He further shared his conclusion that CSWC's source is fed from a “perched water table” separated from “the permanent water table” by a silt and clay barrier. (See 2/1/13 letter.) Mr. Beyling concluded by stating that, “if all this delta gravel is taken out, it will have no effect on Cold Spring Water Company.” In his final rendering, he believes “'No adverse effect' is a reasonable conclusion.”

S. Salsbury resumed the presentation with oral summaries of SPR Standards 11 – 15

M. Walsh provided a more detailed explanation, with diagrams, for SPR 17 (Stormwater) and SPR 18 (Erosion and Sedimentation Control).

S. Salsbury summarized how the application meets SPR Standards 19 and 20.

E. Bearor noted that, as the Lamoine Comprehensive Plan specifically permits “the mining of sand and gravel” in the Rural Agricultural Zone, SPR Standard 16 has been met.

S. Salsbury then introduced the presentation of the Gravel Extraction Permit application and how it met Section 8 of the Lamoine Gravel Ordinance's Review Criteria.

M. Walsh presented the plans for excavation, grading, and erosion control related to Criterion 8A. He stated that “a reasonable, managed excavation plan is essential” to minimize risks related to erosion, dust, wetlands protection, and the like. P. MacQuinn added a brief explanation of “how I think we'd do it” [speaking of the plan for excavation], starting from “the top down”, “benching as we go…. So it would be internally drained.”

S. Salsbury summarized the application relative to Review Criteria 8B – 8E.

[Note: this presentation did not address Review Criteria 1 – 7.]

These presentations concluded at 8:40 p.m.

Planning Board Questions and Comments (summarized)

Gallagher stated that, as one lay member of the Board, he was confronted with two professional assessments of the hydrology of the site that conflicted. He asked, “Who am I to believe?”; he stated, “I need to be able to trust the interpretation”, emphasizing how important the issue of water was to the community and its citizens. Beyling noted that the report and his presentation are “our interpretation and I stand by it.” Gallagher stated that he believes further study is warranted in order to sort out the differences between the Summit Engineering and Brutsaert interpretations.

Holt stated his understanding of the reasoning behind Summit Engineering's hydrogeologic study, asking for confirmation from M. Beyling of that understanding. Beyling confirmed it. Holt then raised two questions:

  1. What is the size and location of the perched water table that feeds Cold Spring? He focused on the absence of sufficient data to determine the “west and northwest” boundaries of the perched water table. His goal: to “establish the extent of the perched water table”…”with data, not just your model”, in order to reduce the risk that the proposed gravel extraction may intrude on that water table. Mr. Beyling offered various explanations to clarify his data and how he used it to arrive at his interpretation. He agreed that more test wells would help to pin down the location of the table's boundary, but emphasized that gravel extraction operations could not penetrate any water table because they are not permitted below the 5-foot separation limit.
  2. What evidence do you have that no water can get up into the perched water table from the delta (sand and gravel)? Mr. Beyling restated his assertion that this was very unlikely, given the uniformity of the gravel deposit and the strong likelihood that his model of the “permanent water table” was accurate. He repeated that the map of soil types he used was developed by the Maine Geological Study, 2012 and that water in the perched water table was clearly “moving toward Cold Spring” from the edge of the silt-clay western boundary.

Holt asserted that, in his estimation, more study is warranted in order to provide greater assurance that the proposed operations will not put CSWC and its members at risk.

E. Bearor remarked that, now that Holt and Gallagher have stated a need for further study, might the Board now consider that option? Holt indicated that the Board will take that under consideration at the appropriate time.

Donaldson raised the following questions related to water:

  1. What explains the wetland that is internal to the pit and what assurances are there that mining around it will not place it at risk? Beyling, noting that he was not an expert on wetlands, chose not to comment.
  2. Given that the Maine DEP requires a monitoring well for every 5 acres of pit, why did Summit not drill more wells that could have provided better evidence of the hydrogeology? Beyling was unaware of this requirement and suggested that it applies to the active pit area, not the entire projected area of extraction.
  3. Where is the aquifer? Donaldson reminded the meeting that the SPR groundwater standard obliges the Board to ensure protection of the “aquifer and public water sources”. Beyling explained that the term “aquifer” is subject to multiple understandings and that he applied it both to the “perched water table” and to the “permanent water table” underneath. In response to further questions, he indicated that he was not certain that the “permanent aquifer” was where his firm had drawn it on the diagrams he presented (represented by a “purple line”).

Holt indicated that “at a minimum, I'd like to see wells that go to the projected floor of the pit” and be placed at least 1 well per 5 acres. Beyling stated that, “that's reasonable”.

Bamman inquired about the thickness of the Presumpscot Layer (silt and clay). Beyling's response, to the best of his recollection, was “about 20 feet” at well MW3-2012. Bamman asked, “What happens if you puncture it?” Beyling: it will fill in and seal right away, given the small size of a well.

Fowler: How thick was the saturated layer above [the Presumpscot]?”

Beyling: “I'm not sure… 3 to 4 feet.” (again, at well MW3-2012)

Given the lateness of the hour (9:37 p.m.), Holt asked if there were questions or comments on aspects of the applications other than those relating to water quality and quantity.

Gallagher remarked on the many members of the public who had expressed concern about how the proposed operations would permanently affect the quality of life and environment in Lamoine. (His term was “create destruction” in the community). He posed a question to P. MacQuinn regarding his rationale for presenting a proposal that provoked such concerns. Mr. MacQuinn stated that the operations were within the legal parameters of Lamoine's ordinances and that they would bring employment to people and security to his company.

Tadema-Wielandt asked several questions regarding what was currently permitted (answer: 65 acres), how much was currently under excavation (answer: 5-6 acres), and whether the applicant anticipated that the material under the un-excavated portions were going to be different from what was in the excavated portion (P.MacQuinn: “not really…it's all sand and gravel”).

He also asked when they anticipated reaching the 1,000 foot perimeter around the Cold Spring Water Company. MacQuinn answered that he did not know.

Donaldson raised the following questions:

  1. How are the Restoration Plan (in two locations in the application) and the Erosion Control and Sedimentation Plan coordinated? The Restoration Plan appears to address the condition of the parcel at the end of extraction. The Erosion Control and Sedimentation Plan appears to require actions to slope, re-vegetate, insert swales, riprap etc. all the way along. Should they not be coordinated with one another? Should there not be a larger plan for how the excavation will proceed and how these other measures will follow along?
  2. Traffic: The application states there will be a single entrance; tonight S. Salsbury announced there will be three. Which is it? An amendment to the application appears to be necessary. The SPR requires some analysis of traffic patterns, but the application provides no statistical evidence of that analysis, only a “qualitative traffic survey”.
  3. Wildlife Habitat: Are there plans to follow up the recommendations from Inland Wildlife and Fisheries (see application) that a more “comprehensive” study be done because of inadequacies of current data?
  4. Aquatic Life: Are there plans to address similar concerns about inadequate data raised by state officials relative to salmon (see application) and by local residents at the public hearing relative to shellfish?
  5. Wetlands: the S.W. Cole study indicates that the wetlands on the parcel have not been analyzed for “significance”. When will this be done?

10:10 p.m. Holt summarized by observing that there seemed to be agreement that further study of the hydrology was called for. Discussion ensued regarding how the Board should identify what is needed and locate a qualified professional or firm. Possibilities include: perform a review of existing documents (Summit Engineering, Inc; Brutsaert; other evidence in the application and submitted by the public); recommend additional data collection if necessary to further ascertain risks to groundwater quality and quantity; perform such data collection; and make recommendations to the Board.

It was agreed that the Board would study information provided tonight and return at the March meeting prepared to establish a plan for a further hydrogeologic examination of the site. Other issues raised by the Board tonight will also be discussed and reviewed for action.

E. Bearor stated that the applicant would like some sense from the Board of which aspects of the two ordinances were of major concern to the Board.

  1. Old Business
    1. Gravel Ordinance Revision - Donaldson (Gallagher) moved to approve the Feb 4, 2013 Draft of the revised Lamoine Gravel Ordinance and to recommend that the Board of Selectmen place it on the March Town Meeting Warrant for vote of the townspeople. Approved: 5-0
    2. Donaldson (Tadema-Wielandt) moved to approve the Feb 4, 2013 revision to the Lamoine Site Plan Review Ordinance and to recommend that the Board of Selectmen place it on the March Town Meeting Warrant for vote of the townspeople. Approved: 5-0

Donaldson (Gallagher) moved to table the remaining agenda items from this meeting until the March 5, 2013 meeting. Approved: 5-0

Adjourned at 10:40 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Gordon Donaldson, Secretary