Cousins’ Hill Saved….for now

At Tuesday’s (11/14/17) special Lamoine Planning Board meeting the vote against expansion of the Kittridge pit was 3 nays to 2 yeas on the third gravel permit criterion, “Will not unreasonably result in water pollution, nor affect adversely existing ground water, springs, or ponds.” The vote was tied on criterion 6, “Will not adversely affect surrounding properties”. A tie vote is a failure to pass, so the votes on both criteria count toward denial of the application.

The board was also tasked with considering the Site Plan Review permit application, but since approval was conditional on the approval of the gravel permit, acting chairman Bamman initially assumed going through the review criteria for that permit was unnecessary. This proved to be wrong, and the special Planning Board will meet on December 12, 2017 to consider the Site Plan Review application (refer to Town website to confirm this date).

After the conclusion of the review, acting chairman Bamman floated the idea that there could be conditions on the permit which may change no votes to yes, resulting in approval. Members were stumped however in coming up with what those conditions could be. Bamman suggested that a delay for several weeks could give the applicant time to propose conditions, but Town attorney Pileggi said that conditions should be specific and not arbitrary and open-ended. Member Fowler stated it seemed a waste of everyone’s time to pursue this course. A vote on a measure for continuance failed 1-4. The gravel permit was denied without conditions.

It is widely assumed that the applicant will appeal. The first option for appeal is with the Lamoine Board of Appeals, the second is the Hancock County Superior Court. During the first (2014) time this application came before the board, its denial was appealed to both. The Lamoine Board of Appeals then decided to postpone consideration until after the court made its ruling. An out-of-court settlement (to “do-over”) resulted in the Board of Appeals deciding to drop the matter. Regardless of what happens this time, if the appeal process is pursued, the outcome could be months or more likely, years away.

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