Town of Lamoine, Maine
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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)
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
Gordon Donaldson, Secretary