PORTLAND – A judge agreed Thursday to postpone the trial in Pike Industries’ lawsuit against the city of Westbrook so that he can review a last-minute settlement proposed by the parties.

The civil trial had been scheduled to begin Monday in Cumberland County Superior Court, with Justice Thomas Humphrey presiding.

But after months of legal wrangling and negotiations, Pike and Westbrook reached an agreement that would allow the company to continue operating its rock quarry in the Five Star Industrial Park on a limited basis.

The City Council voted 4-2 in favor of the proposed consent agreement Wednesday night.

On Thursday, Humphrey postponed the trial and gave the parties until Sept. 20 to file papers with the court indicating their positions on the proposal. After receiving those papers, Humphrey will schedule a hearing on whether he should accept the deal. The judge’s decision could come as early as next month.

“I’m really looking to push this process forward efficiently,” Humphrey said. “I think we need to move on a relatively short timetable.”

The quarry has been the subject of a years-long battle between the heavy-construction company and some of its high-technology neighbors in the industrial park.

Pike claims in its lawsuit that it should be allowed to mine the quarry because the city has allowed it for years. Mining has been suspended during the dispute.

The proposed consent agreement would limit Pike to eight blasts a year, limit the intensity of the explosions and restrict truck traffic to an average of 45 vehicles a day. It also would prevent Pike from operating an asphalt or concrete plant at its maintenance facility at 750 Spring St.

Pike has agreed to pay for two new lanes on County Road to the quarry on Spring Street, to help traffic flow. The company also would meet with residents in the Birdland neighborhood who are interested in selling their homes.

Lawyers for the city and for Pike — as well as the lawyers for an intervenor in the court case, Idexx Laboratories — support the agreement and will urge Humphrey to sign off on the 25-page document.

The two other intervenors in the case oppose the deal. Representatives of Artel and Smiling Hill Farm say the consent agreement is deeply flawed and was rushed in front of the City Council.

Artel is a biopharmaceutical company that makes precision measuring instruments. Attorney David Bertoni said the company has been excluded from the negotiations intentionally, and it will consider suing Westbrook if the deal goes through.

The company was lured to the Five Star Industrial Park with promises from the city that the park would be transformed into a world-class technology center, Bertoni said. Artel’s president has said that blasting by Pike disrupts his company’s precision weighing devices.

“It’s not a run-of-the-mill zoning case. It’s a case about fairness,” Bertoni told Humphrey. “If this agreement is accepted, then Artel has effectively been told to leave Westbrook.”

Now that the two principal parties in the case have reached an agreement, one remaining legal question is how much weight Humphrey should give to the intervening parties.

“I’ll be certainly interested in your guidance on that,” Humphrey told the lawyers.

City Solicitor Bill Dale said the intervening parties are essentially onlookers and should not be allowed to block the agreement.

“The city and Pike are really the principal players here. Those two principal players have settled out,” Dale said. “We think that ends the matter.”

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

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