Peter and Carolyn Biegel, of 141 Ossipee Trail, through their attorney, filed an appeal with Cumberland County Superior Court last Thursday against the town of Standish, Pit Stop Fuels, Inc., and its owner, Standish resident Dana Lampron.

The appeal challenges the decision made at the June 6 Standish Planning Board meeting to approve Pit Stop Fuels, Inc. and Lampron’s site plan application for a convenience store, gasoline filling station, and office to be located at 125 Ossipee Trail.

According to Carolyn Biegel, although she and her husband, as abutters to the proposed site, were the ones required to file the lawsuit, it was actually filed on behalf of the Concerned Citizens for Responsible Development, formerly the Friends of Standish Village.

In the appeal, the group feels the issues of drainage, additional traffic, and wetlands protection were not adequately addressed, but summarily dismissed. After several references made by the board to the opinions of the town’s attorney, the group would also like to see evidence that the attorney actually advised the board that the proposal would be considered an approved usage.

And this approved usage is the crux of their appeal. The group believes the Pit Stop qualifies as a bulk storage facility, which would not be permitted in the village center zone under the town’s ordinances.

Though the question drew heated and lengthy debate at the June 6 Planning Board meeting, the board did not agree that Lampron’s proposal constituted bulk, or warehouse, storage. Paul Mosley, who was chairman of the Planning Board at the time, said during that meeting, “We have already made it quite clear and defined that he (Lampron) cannot do any resale business; he is not allowed to use that tanker to resell product to other businesses. It is not allowed.”

Mosley, contacted recently for his reaction to the Biegel’s appeal, declined to comment, saying he had not been able to review its contents.

When contacted on Wednesday, Dana Lampron said the approval for his project was for underground storage of 60,000 gallons of fuel. 20,000 gallons of that would be for gasoline, 20,000 would be for diesel and kerosene, and 20,000 would be hooked to a rack on site that loads his trucks to deliver home heating fuel.

It is that 20,000-gallon home heating fuel storage tank that is the point of contention for the Biegels. Lampron likened his home heating fuel business to an appliance store with his fuel comparable to the appliances. If a refrigerator is loaded onto the store’s truck and delivered to a home because the customer is unable to carry it home from the store in the car, it is considered retail sales (a permitted use for Standish’s village zoning) not resale business.

But Carolyn Biegel, referring to the proposed use said, “You talk to anybody else and it’s very clearly a warehouse. The (Planning Board) decision was erroneous, made very hastily in a way no decision has been made before.”

And that Planning Board decision is specifically cited in the Biegel’s appeal as being “arbitrary, capricious, and/or an abuse of discretion.” The document also accuses their decision to approve the site plan as being “motivated by bias” and as being “erroneous and based upon an incorrect interpretation of the Code.” In addition, it states that, “in approving the site plan application, the Planning Board exceeded its authority under both the Code and Maine law generally.”

Asked to comment on the appeal, Standish Town Manager Gordon Billington said, “Our role is to ensure the full record of the hearing is complete and forwarded to the court for their full review.”

According to Tim Norton, attorney for the Biegels, the case most likely will not go to trial but be handled on the briefs. He said it is possible they will talk to the judge about ordering Lampron to stop any work on the project until the case has been decided.

Asked if he plans to go ahead with his plans before a ruling is made on the appeal, Lampron said, “If anything, I’m going to turn it up a little harder now. This is going in no matter what happens. The world can’t stop for one person. I think that the Planning Board bent over backwards to try to appease the abutters.”

Although Carolyn says she never imagined herself doing something like this, the Biegels are determined to fight the board’s decision. “This can’t be let go, said Carolyn. “If you do serve on a board you have to be accountable.”

This sign adorns the lawn of a Standish couple who have appealed a recent Planning Board ruling authorizing construction of a gas station on Route 25.

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