On August 8, 2018, John Steed, attorney for Friends of Lamoine, filed a Complaint to the Hancock County Superior Court. Also listed as Complainant was the Tweedie Trust, owner of property abutting the now-permitted Kittridge Pit expansion.
The reason for the Complaint is the opinion of FOL’s board that the Lamoine Appeals Board acted illegally to overturn the Lamoine Planning Board’s Site Plan Review denial of Harold MacQuinn’s gravel pit expansion application. The FOL team now has 30 days to prepare for a formal Appeal. FOL also seeks a Preliminary Injunction to prevent Harold MacQuinn, Inc. from beginning the removal of Cousins’ Hill in the heart of Lamoine while the matter is before the Court.
Since the Town of Lamoine had no choice but to issue the permits, the target of FOL’s Complaint is the Town. At the August 9 Lamoine Board of Selectmen meeting, FOL president Carol Korty read the following statement:
FRIENDS OF LAMOINE
P.O. Box 963, Ellsworth, ME 04605
August 9, 2018
Dear Lamoine Board of Selectmen:
Board members of Friends of Lamoine come to you with deep concerns regarding the proceedings of the Board of Appeals and its decision to overturn the Planning Board’s denial of the Harold MacQuinn, Inc. application for a Site Plan Review permit to mine all of Cousins Hill.
The Planning Board’s decision to deny the MacQuinn application was founded on an enormous amount of quantitative data, testimony and letters of over 60 Lamoine citizens, and the Board’s conscientious considerations of all aspects of the application. The Planning Board followed all guidelines and procedures. Their process and findings for denial of the application were fully documented and presented to the Board of Appeals.
Lamoine’s Site Plan Review Ordinance clearly directs that appeals of decisions by the Planning Board should go directly to Superior Court. Documents from Daniel Pileggi, attorney for the Planning Board, and Diane O’Connell, attorney for the Board of Appeals, clearly stated the jurisdiction and review standards for the Appeals Board. Nonetheless, at great cost to the citizens of Lamoine, the Board of Appeals disregarded their counsel. Their actions, despite their expressions of good intent, unfortunately remain a disservice to town governance and to Lamoine citizens.
The citizens of Lamoine have expressed their strong support for the Planning Board and the gravel ordinances which guide its actions. These citizens now need to be supported by upholding full adherence to those ordinances by Town boards.
We are meeting with you this evening as a courtesy. It is with sincere regret that we inform you that we have filed a complaint in Superior Court against the Appeals Board decision (and subsequent Planning Board’s obligatory action) to grant Harold MacQuinn, Inc. a permit to mine all of Cousin’s Hill.
An option available to you is to spend no more of taxpayers’ money on defending the Board of Appeal’s baseless decision. If as a Board, you simply do not answer the Complaint and do not defend the Board of Appeal’s action, there will be no additional cost to the Town in this matter.
Sincerely, Carol Korty
President, Friends of Lamoine
The lawsuit will be before the Court for several years during which the fate of Cousins’ Hill will remain uncertain. Harold MacQuinn, Inc. may choose to continue mining unless the Court grants a Preliminary Injunction to halt activity. If mining continues and the permits are withdrawn, MacQuinn will be responsible for restoration.