South Thomaston's Board of Appeals will likely send an application for a gravel pit at 532 St. George Road back to the town's Planning Board after reviewing an appeal by the "aggrieved residents of South Thomaston" March 15.

The board is expected to take a final vote March 29 at 6 p.m., at the Municipal Building.

Near the beginning of the meeting, attendees and the board discussed whether board member Dianne Darling should recuse herself for having earlier refused to sign a petition against the project. Darling lives near the site.

"If you just want your appeal to be completely bulletproof and not to have this be one of the issues, then the safest bet is to not have Dianne serve," town attorney Kristin Collins told the board.

The board voted 2-1 to allow Darling to continue serving on the board.

While the board disagreed with almost every argument made in the appeal, it did find error in the Planning Board's acceptance of a map submitted by applicant Maxwell Young.

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 board rejected the rest of the appellants' numerous arguments.

Major subjects of discussion included whether Planning Board members had conflicts of interest in the case and whether the gravel pit would affect area property values.

The appellants have said members of the Planning Board were biased in favor of the project and had a conflict of interest because the late Roger Young, who was Maxwell Young's father, had served on the Planning Board for years before his death.

Other claims of bias were raised at the meeting, including Planning Board member Jeff Northgraves' comment that prohibiting gravel pits would be unconstitutional.

Ultimately, however, the board seemed to settle on rejecting all such claims.

Over the next two weeks, the board and Collins will draft their decision.

Appellant Paul Neagle was given two weeks to add several more names to the list of appellants, though he had asked for at least three weeks. He said many of those interested in joining the appeal are out of town, making it more difficult to gather the names.

Collins noted that any one of the listed appellants could bring the issue to Superior Court after the Board of Appeals decision, if they are so inclined.

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