Westbrook officials, Idexx Laboratories and Pike Industries have reached an out-of-court settlement that will allow Pike to continue its quarrying operation in Westbrook, Mayor Colleen Hilton confirmed Thursday night.
The parties reached a consent agreement limiting Pike to eight blasts a year in its quarry in the Five Star Industrial Park, Hilton said.
Details of the agreement will be announced during a news conference at 1:30 p.m. today at City Hall. Hilton said the City Council will be asked to approve the agreement at its meeting Aug. 30.
“This is an example of wonderful diplomacy between the parties that were involved,” Hilton said. “Idexx will move forward with their expansion plans and Pike will continue to operate, though in a more limited fashion.”
The agreement, which still needs court approval, is the product of months of negotiations.
After Hilton took office in January, she asked the council to delay its decision on a rezoning proposal that would have made it difficult, if not impossible, for Pike to use its quarry off Spring Street. She formed the Quarry Steering Committee, which met over the past several months.
Pike had threatened to leave Westbrook if it was prohibited from using its Spring Street quarry.
Idexx, a producer of diagnostic products and pharmaceuticals for animal care, had proposed building a $50 million headquarters in the park, but said it would consider building elsewhere if Pike were allowed to expand its quarrying.
“In this economy, we don’t want to lose any jobs,” Hilton said Thursday.
In July 2009, the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals ruled that Pike does not have the right to operate the quarry because its predecessor on the site, Blue Rock Industries, never met conditions that the board established in 1968.
Pike appealed that decision to Cumberland County Superior Court. A civil trial is scheduled for Sept. 13 on its claim that quarrying should continue because the city allowed it for years.
In June of this year, the City Council voted to rezone the industrial park to a manufacturing district, which would limit Pike’s quarrying. City officials said the zoning change would lure biotech and precision manufacturing, information technology and financial services to the city.
Pike went to court to appeal the rezoning, arguing that it was illegal and would prevent Pike from using its property in a way it believed it has a constitutional right to continue.
If a judge approves the consent agreement, the lawsuits will be withdrawn, the mayor said Thursday.
Not all of the companies in the industrial park are happy with the agreement.
Artel, which manufactures precision measuring instruments for liquid-handling labs, has said it cannot co-exist with a company that blasts so close to its facility.
“If Pike blasts, Artel must leave,” Kirby Pilcher, the company’s president, said in a statement released Thursday night. “We’ve always obeyed all laws and regulations in Westbrook, but Pike has not. If this agreement is signed as written, they’re getting rewarded for bad behavior and we’re getting shown the door.”
Artel’s statement, released through its spokesman, Mark Robinson, said Artel will take 55 jobs and a planned $2 million expansion to another city.
Dennis Bailey, the spokesman for Pike, said he would not comment on the agreement Thursday night.
Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: