WESTBROOK — While a committee attempted to fashion a compromise over the operation of a quarry in an industrial park, one of the city’s biggest employers and the quarry owner indicated they remain miles away from a possible solution to their impasse.

Idexx Laboratories is planning to construct a $50 milliion building at the Five Star Industrial Park and hire about 500 new employees, boosting its employment to about 2,100. But it said that won’t happen unless the city changes the zoning for the area to permit only light industrial uses. Pike Industries, which owns the quarry, has said that zoning would so limit blasting and other operations that it would have to close the quarry.

A committee set up by Mayor Colleen Hilton worked Saturday morning on a proposal by Pike to draft an agreement to limit its blasting in the quarry to 20 times a year, five fewer than the number permitted last year, and putting other restrictions on operations. The company also said it would scrap plans for an asphalt plant at the quarry and build berms to further diminish the sound waves created by the blasting and other noise in the quarry and also block views of the quarry from most nearby buildings.

But an official from Idexx said the company continues to want rezoning instead. That zoning would limit the annual number of blasts in the quarry to an average of the number set off over the previous five years. The Idexx official, facilities manager Dick Daigle, said that would mean about five blasts a year, although Westbrook’s city engineer said the number could be closer to 10.

Pike officials said anything less than 20 blasts a year would so limit the amount of rock it could mine from the quarry that it wouldn’t make financial sense to keep it operating.

Idexx “ought to man up about this and be straightforward about its objective — their objective is to shut Pike down,” said Tony Buxton, the lawyer representing Pike Industries,

The Westbrook Planning Board has approved the rezoning for the industrial park, but the issue isn’t scheduled to go before the City Council until next month.

Daigle reiterated that Idexx isn’t interested in building the addition if Pike is allowed to continue working the quarry at the level it does currently. That operation, the company has said, is driving businesses from the park, and that hurts property values. That means an investment of the size Idexx is contemplating doesn’t make sense, Daigle said, and the company would look at other locations, most likely outside of Westbrook, for the new office building.

Buxton said Pike has gone as far as it can go.

He said each of the 20 blasts the company has agreed to will be separated by about two weeks and the blasts will cause about a quarter of the vibration that’s permitted under state law.

“Below this, you wouldn’t be able to operate a quarry,” Buxton said. “We’ve tried every possibility to try to compromise with Idexx and they won’t talk to us. We’ve met them 95 percent of the way and they’re not budging.”

Hilton said the committee would continue to work on the proposed consent agreement, which it will discuss further at its next meeting April 21. A public discussion will be held a week later and then the committee will meet once more to decide what, if anything, it will recommend to the council. 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]

 

WESTBROOK — While a committee attempted to fashion a compromise over the operation of a quarry in an industrial park, one of the city’s biggest employers and the quarry owner indicated they remain miles away from a possible solution to their impasse.

Idexx Laboratories is planning to construct a $50 milliion building at the Five Star Industrial Park and hire about 500 new employees, boosting its employment to about 2,100.But it said that won’t happen unless the city changes the zoning for the area to permit only light industrial uses. Pike Industries, which owns the quarry, has said that zoning would so limit blasting and other operations that it would have to close the quarry.

A committee set up by Mayor Colleen Hilton worked Saturday morning on a proposal by Pike to draft an agreement to limit its blasting in the quarry to 20 times a year, five fewer than the number permitted last year, and putting other restrictions on operations. The company also said it would scrap plans for an asphalt plant at the quarry and build berms to further diminish the sound waves created by the blasting and other noise in the quarry and also block views of the quarry from most nearby buildings.

But an official from Idexx said the company continues to want rezoning instead. That zoning would limit the annual number of blasts in the quarry to an average of the number set off over the previous five years. The Idexx official, facilities manager Dick Daigle, said that would mean about five blasts a year, although Westbrook’s city engineer said the number could be closer to 10.

Pike officials said anything less than 20 blasts a year would so limit the amount of rock it could mine from the quarry that it wouldn’t make financial sense to keep it operating.

Idexx “ought to man up about this and be straightforward about its objective — their objective is to shut Pike down,” said Tony Buxton, the lawyer representing Pike Industries,

The Westbrook Planning Board has approved the rezoning for the industrial park, but the issue isn’t scheduled to go before the City Council until next month.

Daigle reiterated that Idexx isn’t interested in building the addition if Pike is allowed to continue working the quarry at the level it does currently. That operation, the company has said, is driving businesses from the park, and that hurts property values. That means an investment of the size Idexx is contemplating doesn’t make sense, Daigle said, and the company would look at other locations, most likely outside of Westbrook, for the new office building.

Buxton said Pike has gone as far as it can go.

He said each of the 20 blasts the company has agreed to will be separated by about two weeks and the blasts will cause about a quarter of the vibration that’s permitted under state law.

“Below this, you wouldn’t be able to operate a quarry,” Buxton said. “We’ve tried every possibility to try to compromise with Idexx and they won’t talk to us. We’ve met them 95 percent of the way and they’re not budging.”

Hilton said the committee would continue to work on the proposed consent agreement, which it will discuss further at its next meeting April 21. A public discussion will be held a week later and then the committee will meet once more to decide what, if anything, it will recommend to the council. 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]

 

WESTBROOK — While a committee attempted to fashion a compromise over the operation of a quarry in an industrial park, one of the city’s biggest employers and the quarry owner indicated they remain miles away from a possible solution to their impasse.

Idexx Laboratories is planning to construct a $50 milliion building at the Five Star Industrial Park and hire about 500 new employees, boosting its employment to about 2,100.But it said that won’t happen unless the city changes the zoning for the area to permit only light industrial uses. Pike Industries, which owns the quarry, has said that zoning would so limit blasting and other operations that it would have to close the quarry.

A committee set up by Mayor Colleen Hilton worked Saturday morning on a proposal by Pike to draft an agreement to limit its blasting in the quarry to 20 times a year, five fewer than the number permitted last year, and putting other restrictions on operations. The company also said it would scrap plans for an asphalt plant at the quarry and build berms to further diminish the sound waves created by the blasting and other noise in the quarry and also block views of the quarry from most nearby buildings.

But an official from Idexx said the company continues to want rezoning instead. That zoning would limit the annual number of blasts in the quarry to an average of the number set off over the previous five years. The Idexx official, facilities manager Dick Daigle, said that would mean about five blasts a year, although Westbrook’s city engineer said the number could be closer to 10.

Pike officials said anything less than 20 blasts a year would so limit the amount of rock it could mine from the quarry that it wouldn’t make financial sense to keep it operating.

Idexx “ought to man up about this and be straightforward about its objective — their objective is to shut Pike down,” said Tony Buxton, the lawyer representing Pike Industries,

The Westbrook Planning Board has approved the rezoning for the industrial park, but the issue isn’t scheduled to go before the City Council until next month.

Daigle reiterated that Idexx isn’t interested in building the addition if Pike is allowed to continue working the quarry at the level it does currently. That operation, the company has said, is driving businesses from the park, and that hurts property values. That means an investment of the size Idexx is contemplating doesn’t make sense, Daigle said, and the company would look at other locations, most likely outside of Westbrook, for the new office building.

Buxton said Pike has gone as far as it can go.

He said each of the 20 blasts the company has agreed to will be separated by about two weeks and the blasts will cause about a quarter of the vibration that’s permitted under state law.

“Below this, you wouldn’t be able to operate a quarry,” Buxton said. “We’ve tried every possibility to try to compromise with Idexx and they won’t talk to us. We’ve met them 95 percent of the way and they’re not budging.”

Hilton said the committee would continue to work on the proposed consent agreement, which it will discuss further at its next meeting April 21. A public discussion will be held a week later and then the committee will meet once more to decide what, if anything, it will recommend to the council. 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]