Appeals Board rejects most arguments by opponents

Gravel pit to return to Planning Board

By Dan Otis Smith | Apr 13, 2017
Photo by: Dan Otis Smith The South Thomaston Board of Appeals reviews an appeal April 12. From left are shown Town Administrator Terri-Lynn Baines, board members Richard Rackliff and Rolf Winters, the town's attorney Kristin Collins and board members John Hansen and Dianne Darling.

South Thomaston — The Board of Appeals voted unanimously to send an application for a gravel pit back to the Planning Board April 12.

The board rejected almost every argument in the appeal from residents opposed to the pit proposed for 532 St. George Road, but agreed that the site map submitted by applicant Maxwell Young was not sufficient to meet the requirements of the town ordinance.

The hand-drawn map includes a note that reads "Not to scale," while the ordinance requires that such maps be drawn to a specific scale.

The April 12 decision instructs the Planning Board to consider a scale site plan.

The outcome was expected, as the Board of Appeals had come to the same conclusion nearly a month ago, and attendance at the meeting was sparse.

Many of the arguments rejected by the board, such as that the Planning Board conducted no site visit and improperly held a public hearing before the completion of the gravel pit application, were rejected on the grounds that the ordinance requires no such assurances or procedures by the Planning Board.

After the vote, John Hansen of the Board of Appeals invited public comment. Dan Manley spoke up to thank the board for "listening to us."

"Multiple times we were told, basically, 'sit down and shut up,' and that's not right for a town of this size," Manley said. "The people need to have some input, and we've not had that."

Manley argued that the town ordinance needs improvements, such as specific conditions spelling out when and how public hearings should be held.

Hansen responded by recommending Manley attend Planning Board meetings and come up with suggestions for ordinance changes, and said he would do the same. He said he thinks others agree changes are needed.

Reporter Dan Otis Smith can be reached at 594-4401 x123 or by email at dsmith@villagesoup.com.

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