Pike Industries’ prospect for building an asphalt plant on Spring Street grew bleaker this week, as the city’s code enforcement officer ruled that the plant is not included in the company’s property rights.

At the same time, the Westbrook City Council continued moving forward with an effort to rezone Five Star Industrial Park and surrounding land from industrial to light manufacturing, which would also prevent Pike from expanding.

The council voted 6-0 Monday, with Suzanne Joyce absent, to refer the rezoning to the Planning Board, which will make a recommendation before the council takes a final vote.

Both the council’s and Code Enforcement Officer Rick Gouzie’s decisions were favorable for members of Westbrook Works, a group of businesses and residents near Pike’s property who have opposed the expansion Pike proposed a year ago.

Ideally, however, the group would have liked to see Gouzie determine that Pike couldn’t operate on Spring Street at all.

Gouzie was charged with interpreting Pike’s property rights after Westbrook Works came forward with evidence that the excavating company was never permitted to quarry rock on Spring Street. In response, Pike argued that it had the right, not only to quarry, but also to have a rock-crushing plant, a concrete plant and an asphalt plant, as well.

On Friday, Gouzie ruled that the company could continue to quarry, but couldn’t add the rock-crushing, concrete or asphalt plants without a special exception from the city. Both Pike and Westbrook Works have 30 days to appeal Gouzie’s decision to the Zoning Board, and representatives from both parties say they are taking it into consideration.

At the meeting Monday, a few residents of Birdland, the neighborhood near Pike’s property, came out to urge the council to move forward with the rezoning, while representatives of Pike opposed it.

“It’s kind of disturbing to see something like this happen to a blue collar company,” said John Koris, environmental manager for Pike.

Pike’s regional manager, Jonathan Olson, said he wasn’t surprised that about the council’s decision or Gouzie’s ruling.

“I think he made the only decision he could make,” Olson said.

Dick Daigle, director of facilities management for Idexx, a member of Westbrook Works, said he wasn’t surprised about the decision either, but also believes it will still be a while before the final ruling is made.

“We’re going to have to continue to monitor the process,” he said.

When it does come time for the council to vote, Drew Gattine assured both parties it would keep an open mind.

“I’m confident we’ll make the right decision for the community,” he said.

Pike asphalt plans pushed offPike asphalt plans pushed off


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: