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Minutes  - Kittridge Pit Hearing, November 9, 2017 (Draft, subject to correction)

 

Board Members Present: Fowler (acting chair during Bamman absense), Legere, McMullen, Tadema-Wielandt, Gabel-Richards (alt. and secretary), Bamman.

 

Attorney for Lamoine: Dan Pileggi

 

Attending for Applicant: MacQuinn, Salsbury, Bearor, Deyling.

 

Called to order at 6:30 pm

 

FIrst comments are by abutters and individuals and groups with standing.

 

John Steed, attorney for Friends of Lamoine (FOL): 3 issues,

1.                     Questioned “do over” agreement between Board and Applicant, therefore, Board should not be using old ordinance.

a.                     Pileggi - if court had ordered “redo” which ordinance would you use? Steed, old one.

2.                     Information on application is not current, needs to be updated to reflect current conditions.

3.                     Asked again for recusal of Richard McMullen based on statements made at time of first application and concerns over conflict of interest.

 

Carol Korty (FOL): submitted 6 page document to Board detailing reasons to reject both the gravel pit permit application and site plan review application. Signed by 54 Lamoiners.

 

Bruce Gillett: presented study he conducted showing the area nearest the site to be the “center of town,” having highest population density, and therefore requiring careful consideration in terms of siting a large pit there.

 

John Holt: (representing Cold Spring Water Company, an abutting property and public water supply) expressed concerns about the impact of proposal on the quality and quantity of water supplied by the spring. The company serves 54 customers, including the elementary school.

Referred to two parts of the ordinance; Need compelling assurances that water will not be adversely affected. and the impact of any activity on the abutting properties.

Holt also advocated for several additional safeguards:

1.                     delineate 50 ft setback and contours/elevations

a.                     3/24/17 survey deficient in representing contours

b.                     5/1/17 new survey provided, suggested that an impartial surveyor wold be preferred.

2.             the new road proposed should not be built within the 50 ft buffer as that will be within the 100 ft buffer in next permitting cycle.

3.             restrict excavation within 50 - 100 ft buffer zone to maintain 2.5:1 slope requirement.

4.             No materials brought into site to protect the aquifer.

 

Bamman: (to MacQuinn) will excavation be kept to 2.5:1 slope. MacQuinn replied that it would be. This should be put in writing.

 

Donaldson: quoted application, maintain 2.5:1 slope “where feasible.” Rewrite wording in application.

 

Catherine de Tuede (FOL): cited 2011 ordinance, section 7D6, “will not adversely affect surrounding properties.” She then read a statement covering negative impact on real estate values, historical land uses, and importance of natural beauty to community as reasons to reject application. Also brought up the geological significance of the site.

 

Susa Wuorinen (FOL): Raised issue of air quality, cited Site Plan Review Ordinance, section J-11 (requires all operations to comply with all state and federal regulations). No provision in the gravel ordinance for monitoring air quality. This should be addressed before new permits are issued. Brought up studies linking small dust particles, <10 microns, as being linked to many diseases. Other states, like Texas, have strict regulations separating gravel operations from residential areas.

 

Carol Korty: personal statement about degradation of public vistas,  public vs. private property rights. Ordinance requirement limiting floor of extraction to minimum 5 ft above mean high groundwater level is not based on science, but on a political compromise. What will be the effect of predicted increases in precipitation brought on by global warming on groundwater levels?

 

Valerie Sprague: Submitted a statement, signed by Mill Road residents, detailing negative impacts of increased gravel extraction activities. Main issues are noise, dust, traffic, and difficulty selling property.

 

Katherine Gaianguest: Submitted and explained survey sent and completed by area realtors. Resonses indicated that a majority of realtors acknowledged the negative impact that proximity to gravel mining operations has on the price, marketability and sales of Lamoine properties. These negative impacts increase as distance to operation decreases.

 

Glen Manring: an abutting property owner expressed lone voice in support of the application. Said he has had no issues as a neighbor to the operation.

 

Comments by general public.

 

Gordan Donaldson: Presented arguments that he feels show that the applicant has not met the “burden of proof” test that this project will be safe, productive for the Town as well as the company, and will not compromise the health, safety, and welfare of the community. The application falls short in these areas: (see written submission for further details)

1.                     Weak and nonexistent restoration plans. The ordinance requires that the applicant “preserve the usefulness of the land and its capacity to be an asset to the town and its residents.

2.                     Weak and nonexistent procedural safeguards. The ordinances require the applicant to “preserve, protect, and promote the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Lamoine.

3.                     There is no evidence that the project will “promote the health, safety, and welfare...”

 

Willem Brusaert: Summarized his written submission that the removal of Cousins Hill will cause Cold Spring to stop flowing. He disagreed with applicant’s report that the spring is fed solely by a “perched” water table and is not part of the larger aquifer deeper under the hill. He contends that data from the site supports his finding that the spring is fed by the larger aquifer. He also expressed concerns for the increased risk of pollution to the aquifer caused by removal of the overlying deposits.

 

These findings were again disputed by Deyling on behalf of the applicant.

 

Jim Gallagher: Presented in great detail, his ongoing opposition to the granting of this permit. He voted against the original application in 2014 as a member of the Planning Board. The focus of his opposition is based on the portions of both ordinances that deal with preservation and enhancement of the landscape. He contends that the applicant, motivated solely by the profit motive, ignores the long historical record of the central importance of natural beauty to a community. It is the duty of the planning board to balance the private property rights of an individual with the rights of the members of a community to preserve the natural beauty that it believes to be essential to the health and well being of the town (see written submission for complete details).

 

Charles Brann: Born and raised in Lamoine, he believes that the removal of Cousins Hill will result in the loss of water to Cold Spring,and a reduction of home values in the community. He asked if Mr. MacQuinn would be willing to pay for new drilled wells for all customers of Cold Spring Water Co. if the well should run dry.

 

John Holt (as private citizen): Questioned whether the project was appropriate for the given site. Stated that a balance needed to be found between the rights of the applicant with the rights of the nearby property owners. In terms of Review Standard 1, to preserve and enhance the landscape, the major changes to the landscape caused by the project crosses the line from positive to negative for this standard.

 

Ian Heyse: Characterized the project as “mountain top removal” and asked MacQuinn, on behalf of the young people of Lamoine, to withdraw his application and preserve the hill. “Perhaps the town will name the hill after you.”

 

Nancy Pochan: Removal of Cousins Hill is really mountain top removal, and once done, cannot be undone.

 

John Steed ((attorney FOL): Asked to have public testimony made part of the public record. Noted that Cousins Hill is the highest point in Lamoine and too significant to remove.

 

Valerie Sprague, read letter by Jane and John Pette: live near another MacQuinn operation. Recommend denial of permit. Among other concerns, they say they hear noise from the pit earlier than allowed by the ordinance. Lack of trust that rules will be followed.

 

Irene Laney: concerned about water quality and natural beauty. Suggested a review by an independent scientist might be in order.

 

Dr. Katherine Gaianguest: not satisfied that the word of the applicant was sufficient with regards to the affect of the project on the town. Requested two full and independent studies, environmental impact and community impact.

 

David Legere: Asked of town attorney Pileggi, “can past violations of ordinance standards be used to evaluate the current application?” Pileggi replied that the Board may consider credibility questions when evaluating the applicant, but cannot use information that is not part of the application or part of the public hearing record.

 

Dr. Jim Gallagher: Urged the Board to put off the 11/14 special meeting to allow adequate time to evaluate all the material submitted.

 

John Steed (attorney FOL): Board should incorporate prior violations of applicant in considering the application. Asked for an extension of time for document submission until the following Monday, 11/13/17.

 

Motion by Legere/Fowler to close public hearing and the acceptance of new material.

Passed (5 - 0)

 

Motion to adjourn Bamman/Fowler. Passed (5 - 0)

Adjourned at 9:25 pm.