As a group of residents who filed an appeal to overturn the Gorham Planning Board’s approval of an asphalt and quarry awaits a judge’s decision on whether the case will go to trial, Shaw Brothers Construction has started building roads into the site.

So far Shaw Brothers has widened Route 237 near the entrance to the project and begun building entrance roads into the quarry.

Four members of the Concerned Citizens of Gorham – Theresa Dolan, Anne Hayes, Russell Sprague and Jennifer Everett – filed a motion May 29 to bring an appeal, filed April 30, of the Gorham Planning Board’s approval of the project to trial.

The appeal argued a hydrogeological study conducted at the Mosher Road site was insufficient and that the town’s zoning ordinance is inconsistent with its comprehensive plan.

Shaw said he believes the group’s trial request is meritless. However, he said, “they are well within their rights to do it, and we applaud their right to do it.”

The group has not filed an injunction to prohibit work at the 125-acre site, where the Gorham-based construction company plans to mine and blast quarry and build an asphalt plant. Sprague said the group did not file for an injunction because they were told a decision on it could take too long, and they would be better off seeking a trial on the matter.

If a Cumberland County Superior Court judge were to decide in favor of the group, work would have to halt at the site.

On June 18, Shaw Brothers filed to dismiss the group’s trial request, arguing that the group had sufficiently voiced its concerns during the 18-month long Planning Board review process.

Once a decision has been made, the citizens group will have 30 days to respond.

“It would be good if the judge did allow us to have a trial,” said Theresa Dolan, a member of the citizens’ group. “The evidence was clear that there were aspects of the application and the code that although the Planning Board did as much as they could, they did not follow the codes, especially geological and land use that should’ve been reviewed further.”

If the judge does not allow the case to go to trial, an outcome could still be decided based on court documents that have already been filed, said James Cloutier, the group’s attorney.

“That could very well happen because that is part of our request for the judge to evaluate whether a trial is needed,” Cloutier said. “I really don’t have a prediction whether that would happen or not.”

Cloutier said he does not know when the judge will make a decision.

The plaintiffs have been involved in the issue, which also became an election issue, almost since the beginning. Sprague ran unsuccessfully for Town Council. Dave Homa, the group’s president, was also an unsuccessful council candidate. Homas said previously that group member Jennifer Everett, Sprague’s wife, is secretary of the citizens’ group.

Sprague and Everett live on Libby Avenue. Dolan lives on 309 Mosher Road, owns horses and lives close to the site of the quarry and asphalt plant. Homa previously said Anne Hayes, another group member, is Dolan’s partner.

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