OWLS HEAD — The attorney who represents the couple who want to have an events center at their Ash Point Farm has asked the Owls Head Selectboard to remove two members from the town’s Planning Board.

The Planning Board members, however, say they have done nothing wrong and have tried to adhere to town ordinances and the comprehensive plan.

Attorney Kristin Collins made her request in an Oct. 14 letter, claiming misconduct by Planning Board members Russell Wolfertz and Ken Wexler.

Owls Head voters overwhelmingly approved (142 to 87) an ordinance change at an Aug. 30 special town meeting to allow events centers on parcels of 15 acres or larger. The events center ordinance was placed on the warrant after 106 residents signed a petition to get it in the meeting for a vote. Christina and Jeff Woodman want to have an event/gathering center at their 32-acre Ash Point Farm at 35 Ash Point Drive.

The couple had tried for a year-and-a-half to get approval from the Planning Board before turning to the petition drive. The Planning Board had maintained the project was not allowed in the zone where the farm is located.

While the ordinance change has been approved, the Woodmans must still go before the Planning Board again for their specific project to be reviewed to make sure it meets the conditions of the new municipal law.

Collins claims in her Oct. 14 letter Wolfertz and Wexler refused to comply with an Aug. 2 Freedom of Access request for correspondence between Planning Board members and the public concerning the ordinance. She said Wolfertz admitted having exchanged text messages about the project, but had since deleted those texts, which she said is a violation of the Freedom of Access law.

The lawyer also contends Wolfertz threatened to file a complaint with the Maine Bar against her in retaliation for her Freedom of Access request.

Collins also claimed Wexler was behind a mailing to town residents before the town meeting that she contended disparaged the proposed events center, and included false and misleading information.

“This active lobbying against a proposal that had been before the Planning Board, and would be again, was unprofessional and casts doubt on Mr. Wexler’s ability to separate his personal beliefs from duties to remain impartial as a Planning Board member,” Collins stated in her letter.

The lawyer also said Wolfertz fought at every turn to hold a public hearing once the petition was filed. She said all that wrangling over a ministerial act of holding a hearing caused the Woodmans to incur additional legal fees.

“I hope that the Selectmen will seriously consider whether this type of obstructionist and political approach is what you expect from serving Planning Board members, and consider removing Mr. Wolfertz and Mr. Wexler from the Planning Board,” she concluded.

She offered to meet with the Selectboard in a closed-door executive session.

The Selectboard is next scheduled to meet on Monday evening, Dec. 6. An agenda for that meeting has not yet been completed.

Wolfertz said it was kind of expected knowing the history for past two years.

“This has became a personal issue versus ordinance compliance; one of popularity and intimidation not rule and process,” Wolfertz said. “Follow the money, the threats and lack of straight face disclosure and a totally different conclusion is evident. I have been unfairly criticized and threatened by individuals, including Select Board members, for logically following ordinances, comprehensive plans and multiple attorney’s advice. The atmosphere in Town became toxic early on in the process.

“The allegations are simply not accurate. I do find it enlightening and inconsistent that in one instance the Select Board wants someone to “shake up” the education system and then wants to potentially dismiss others for simply following advice and policy because of differences in opinion,” he said.

Wolfertz said he will request any discussion by the Selectboard about the request by Collins be held in public session, not a closed-door one. State law requires a municipal board to hold a personnel matter in public if requested by the subject of the complaint.

Wexler said he is surprised and upset with the Woodmans effort to have him and Wolfertz removed from the Planning Board. He said his lawyer sent a letter to the Selectboard in response to attorney Collins’ letter. The letter denied the claims and said that he has a Constitutional right to express his opinions. He also dismissed the Freedom of Access claim, saying all those records are with the town and all they had to do was request the information from the town.

Planning Board members in Owls Head are appointed by the Selectboard. State law allows them to be removed for cause after a hearing.