There were at least four lawyers, six appellants and more than two hours of debate Nov. 16 at the St. George Town Office, but the town Appeals Board has yet to make a decision on the proposed Wyeth Reading Room.

Six separate appeals of Linda Bean's plan to open a Wyeth Reading Room on Horse Point Road have been filed, mostly by neighbors. The Planning Board approved the project Sept. 26.

The Appeals Board heard from representatives of all six appeals during the meeting, and most of the concerns were that the project would increase traffic on the road and create unsafe conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Neighbors argue it is a narrow, dead-end road and it will be difficult for drivers to turn around without trespassing on neighbors' driveways. In addition, they argue, the new Wyeth Reading Room will mean vehicles turning into the road from a new angle in a place where bait trucks are known to barrel through.

Attorney Paul Gibbons, representing Bean, dismissed the neighbors' statements about safety as "utter nonsense," and "wild speculation."

He argued that a reading room with five parking spaces open only by appointment will not create excessive traffic or a safety concern.

Opponents argue Bean is downplaying the number of people the project will draw, and state those conditions cannot be enforced by the town.

Gibbons also contended there have been only two crashes on the road within the past 10 years, neither involving a pedestrian or dog.

"'Safe' has no meaning," Gibbons said.

He argued it was unconstitutionally vague to say the reading room could create a situation that was not safe. Instead of using vague terms like "safe" and "dangerous," he said, the law requires one to go by specific standards for how much traffic capacity the road has. He added that more traffic than the neighbors would like has nothing to do with the legal standards, and that this is a public, not private, road.

However, attorney Patrick Mellor, representing the Horse Point Road Group, was able to raise questions about the way the Planning Board conducted its site plan review for the project and the tactics used by Bean's camp in the fight over this proposal.

Mellor argued the Board of Appeals does not have a complete record from the Planning Board proceedings, which is required by town ordinances. "It appears as though a number of the items that were submitted to the Planning Board have not made it to the Board of Appeals…" he said in a written statement, which he spoke to at the meeting as well.

In addition, he argued, Bean, through Gibbons, had threatened to sue the court reporter who had transcribed the entirety of the Planning Board proceedings if she provided a copy of the the transcript to the opposition or the town.

"I have been practicing for almost 20 years now, and this is a first in my experience," Mellor said. "It is a new low for how local affairs are conducted. Karen has been a court reporter for more than 20 years, and it's the first time anyone has ever told her that they not only own her time — for which she was paid — but they somehow own the record of the public proceeding."

The court reporter was paid by Bean, though Mellor said Gibbons had earlier offered to assist the town if it needed a transcript.

Gibbons disagreed with Mellor's statements, saying he did not threaten a lawsuit. He said he told the court reporter that if she gave the appellants the transcript, to let him know, in case Bean wanted to take court action to block that.

Gibbons also argued that decisions are not made based on transcripts, which nobody reads because they are too long and boring. He said the statements made by those appealing the project are totally lacking in evidence.

Questions were also raised about whether the Planning Board had access to — and whether it had forwarded on to the Appeals Board — various other documents in the record, including letters from the opponents of the project.

Mellor also argued that Michael Jordan of the Planning Board did not join the board until more than two months into the second application for the project. He cited Jordan's affidavit, which indicated he reviewed all of Bean's application, but did not make reference to the opposition documents.

Town attorney Amanda Meader said she was "very concerned" about the evidence missing from the record. She advised stopping the process at that point until the record issue was resolved.

She noted the meeting was hindered because Code Enforcement Officer Terry Brackett was not there because of a medical emergency.

The Appeals Board plans to hold its next meeting on this matter Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m. at the Town Office.

Daniel Dunkle can be reached at ddunkle@villagesoup.com or 594-4401 ext. 122. Follow him on Twitter @DanDunkle.