Friends of Lamoine’s February 2, 2015 session with the Board of Appeals was rescheduled due to snow and scheduling conflicts. But on February 25th, FOL finally had a chance to testify regarding our formal complaint that Lamoine’s Code Enforcement Officer has allowed gravel on Map 3, Lots 6 & 8 to be extracted without a Gravel Permit. The Gott Garage project is excavating 70,000 cubic yards of gravel with anticipation selling 40% of it as part of their project to construct a large commercial building. They do have a Commercial Building Permit and a site plan review permit but no Gravel Permit. The Planning Board initially had denied issuing a Site Plan Review Permit, asserting that the project did not meet Review Standard J.1 of the Site Plan Review Ordinance in that the proposed excavation of 70,000 cubic yards of material did not represent a minimizing of disturbance of soil for the project. The Planning Board’s decision was reversed by the Appeals Board which ordered the Planning Board to issue the Site Plan Review Permit to Doug Gott & Sons. Lamoine law permits disturbing up to 500 cubic yards of gravel without triggering a need for a permit. 70,000 cubic yards represents 140 times more than the 500 maximum.
Our gravel ordinance states:
1. Permit Required.
No person shall engage in, or permit, the excavation, extraction,
processing, storage or transportation of Gravel (said activities
hereinafter “Gravel Operations”) where the scope of such Gravel Operations exceeds or will exceed one acre or from which more than five hundred (500) cubic yards of Gravel have or will be removed without first obtaining a permit.
FOL contends Gott must also have a gravel permit for this project. The Appeals Board would not consider our complaint on Feb 25th, however, until the following agenda items were addressed.
–a. Determination of Jurisdiction
–b. Determination of standing of Applicant
–c. Determination of parties to hearing
–d.Timeliness of Receipt of Appeal
–e. Poll Board for Conflicts of Interest
–f. Determination of Quorum – makeup of hearing board
–g. Rules of Procedure/Hearing Format
–h. Time and location of hearing (if any)
The meeting lasted well over two hours and couldn’t get beyond the issue of jurisdiction. Instead members of the Board spent much time recalling the sequence of events which led them to reject the denial of the Site Plan Review Permit. Finally Chairman Fenton terminated discussion, admitting the Board did not know how to rule on jurisdiction and instructed all concerned parties – FOL, the CEO, and lawyer Ed Bearor representing Doug Gott & Sons to submit a brief covering their perspective and any pertinent materials concerning items a-h. He said the Board would disseminate these responses to all concerned parties and on March 25, 2015 reconvene to return to the question as to whether our appeal would progress to the next phase in a month’s time.
Without a permit, Gott is putting no monies into escrow with the Town to cover reclamation. Under the provisions of the Gravel Ordinance:
Each permit holder shall pay to the Town of Lamoine $0.05 (5 cents) for every cubic yard of material excavated and removed from the permitted area.
The amount paid to the Town shall be held in a Gravel Pit Restoration account, the sole purpose of which shall be to accumulate and provide funds to pay the costs of required Restoration activities specified in the reclamation plan.
Friends of Lamoine notes that the Site Plan Review Permit the Planning Board was forced to issue to Gott will require restoration upon completion of the excavation. But somehow in the process during spring and summer of 2014, the need for a Gravel Permit was ignored or forgotten by the Board of Appeals, and our Code Enforcement Officer, the only paid employee, whose job description requires he enforce the ordinances.
This appeal cost us $50 to cover the expense of filing. It was worth it to be able to bring this issue to light, regardless of the eventual outcome.
Thanks to all who have contributed to us during our recent fundraiser. We’re all in this together!