April 26, 2013

Neighboring Westbrook company reaches deal with Pike

Artel will not continue its appeal of a consent agreement regulating a rock quarry on Spring Street.

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

WESTBROOK — A Westbrook company that had threatened to move if Pike Industries was allowed to continue blasting rock nearby has reached a private agreement with the quarrying company.

Artel Inc., which makes equipment for measuring precise amounts of liquids, will not continue to pursue its appeal of a consent agreement that regulates Pike's rock quarry on Spring Street. Details of the compromise have not been disclosed.

"The terms of the agreement are between Pike and Artel," said Sigmund Schutz, an attorney for Pike. Artel's attorneys did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

The consent agreement -- reached in 2010 among the city, Pike and neighbor Idexx Laboratories -- put restrictions, such as noise and vibration limits, on Pike's activity at the quarry.

But Artel and another neighbor, Smiling Hill Farm on County Road, didn't feel the regulations sufficed.

Artel has said it has to shut down its operations in the Five Star Industrial Park when Pike blasts rock, because the vibrations could affect its sensitive equipment. It said it would move if it lost the appeal.

Through the appeal process, the courts have ruled that the consent agreement was flawed because it didn't comply with the city's zoning ordinance and have given the city and Pike opportunities to amend it.

The City Council gave initial approval to a second set of amendments to the consent agreement Monday.

Just before that meeting, Artel's attorney Daniel Nuzzi sent an email to city attorney Natalie Burns that said: "Artel has reached an agreement on compromise with Pike, subject to the finalization of a settlement agreement, and on that basis it supports the approval of the (amended consent agreement)."

If the council approves the amendments in a second reading on May 6, Pike will then ask the Maine Business and Consumer Court to approve the amended agreement.

Smiling Hill will continue to fight the consent agreement, said president Warren Knight.

"I hope it doesn't pass the second reading, and that's where our focus is right now," he said.

Knight said Smiling Hill has asked Pike to put a 100-foot vegetative buffer between his property and the quarry, as there is between the quarry and other neighbors. "We're not asking to be treated preferentially," he said.

Tony Buxton, an attorney for Pike, said such a buffer "would require us to fill in a major part of the quarry, and it would be for no particular purpose and would be very expensive."

Knight said he wants the buffer because it would filter dust, block noise and provide a visual barrier.

"I don't think there's any prospect of settlement" with Smiling Hill, Buxton said.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at: 791-6364 or at

lbridgers@pressherald.com

 

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