The application for the Keene pit was reviewed by the Planning Board. Under the current gravel ordinance, Keene is required to maintain a 100′ buffer. Keene does not have a waiver from his current neighbor who owns the abutting property. Keene was under the impression that the Planning Board had the authority to grant this waiver; however Chrm. Holt explained that the Planning Board must follow the current ordinance and can’t waive performance standards in the gravel ordinance. Keene was also advised that the restoration plan for his pit must be completed to the boundary of the 100′ setback within the next three years or life of his gravel permit. The requirement for water quality data from the now-existing wells in the Keene pit was waived by the Planning Board because they are on ledge and groundwater can’t be obtained at the site. The Planning Board will grant Keene’s permit when he files a map with his application showing the 100′ setback and provides a statement that restoration will be completed within three years.
At its prior meeting the Planning Board had concerns that three permits that were required to provide water quality data from drilled wells did not meet the required industry standards for obtaining accurate water quality data. Michael Deyling from CES Inc. (former Summit Engineering) was the water quality expert representing the wells in question. He provided a detailed report that demonstrated how with current standards and methods for water quality sampling, the three wells in question could be used to provide accurate data. He also stated that these wells could be modified to bring them up to current standards. Deyling stated that of key importance was stable parameters and using a professional engineer to take samples. The Planning Board found this information very helpful and said they would be using it in their upcoming gravel ordinance workshop on Sept. 17th.
Of great concern to the Planning Board was that the CEO had gone ahead and approved the three wells in question. As these were conditions required for getting permits, or Administration application issues which is under the purview of the Planning Board rather than Performance issues required in operation under the gravel permit, the Planning Board told the CEO that he had gone beyond his authority. (See Chrm, Holt’s statement) The CEO stated that in his opinion he had the power to make these decisions.
Chairman John Holt’s statement, transcribed from cable video:
The Planning Board received a two page letter from Steven Salisbury in which he makes two complaints against the Board. The first complaint alleges that the Planning Board has no enforcement authority when it comes to violations of performance standards or conditions which the Planning Board may have placed on permits issued by the Planning Board. When it comes to determining if a violation may have taken place, enforcement authority, he states, is delegated to the Code Enforcement Officer. In this regard Steve suggests that if the Board or anyone on the Board feels a violation has taken place that complaint should be routed to the Code Enforcement Officer.
While I concur that, generally speaking, enforcement action is lodged with the C.E.O. and the Selectmen, I think a distinction can and absolutely must be made between a failure to meet a condition required to obtain a permit and failure to meet a performance standard required to retain a permit once it’s issued. As the permit granting authority, I think the Planning Board has every right to insist that anyone seeking a permit complies with all the application requirements of the ordinance before obtaining the permit. On occasion, as a gesture of good will, to enable a project or activity to begin sooner, or to continue without interruption, and also in trust that the applicant will do as he says in agreeing to accept the permit with conditions, the Planning Board grants a permit with the condition that some application requirement not yet met will soon be met….such as we did this evening with Mr. Keane. Some things have not been [inaudible]. In these cases I think it rightly within the authority of the Planning Board, not the C.E.O., to determine whether any such condition needed to obtain the permit has been met satisfactorily.
Kathryn Gaianguest addressed the Planning Board, representing the citizens of Lamoine, saying that the CEO and Steve Salisbury (representative for the gravel operators) should be taking their concerns directly to the Planning Board rather making complaints to the Board of Selectmen as this was a waste of time and energy for everyone and counterproductive.
Steve Salisbury made a request to the Planning Board to amend the Consent Agreements that had been signed by the Board of Selectmen and the gravel operators, with no input from the Planning Board. Salisbury stated that they wanted to present a water quality testing plan to the Planning Board. Chrm. Holt said that they had not been included in any part of the Consent Agreements and that the Board of Selectmen would have to be consulted with regard to this matter.