WESTBROOK — Pike Industries and Idexx Laboratories said Friday that they both had to make compromises, but they can live with an agreement that allows Pike to run its rock quarry in the Five Star Industrial Park.

Some residents and business people, however, say they are disappointed with the deal and will urge the City Council to reject it on Aug. 30.

“I just hope the City Council puts their heads together and all of them decide this is not right,” said Gary Swanson, who lives on Oriole Street.

Details of the consent agreement, announced by Mayor Colleen Hilton, were released at a press conference Friday. The deal limits Pike to eight blasts a year, limits the intensity of the explosions and restricts truck traffic to an average of 45 vehicles a day.

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, particularly Idexx. Neighboring homeowners and Smiling Hill Farm have also been involved in the dispute.

Jonathan Olson, regional manager for Pike, said the agreement will increase the cost of operating the quarry by 30 percent, including $1 million in site improvements.
“Economically, we have given a lot,” he said.

Pike has estimated that there’s enough rock in the quarry – rock of high quality – to last 80 years, making it worth $600 million.
Olson said the blasting, which was suspended two years ago, may resume by late fall or next spring.

Jonathan Ayers, Idexx’s chief executive officer, said his company wanted the explosions limited to six a year but was willing to compromise when Pike agreed not to quarry on the half of its property nearest to Idexx.

He said the agreement means that Idexx will go ahead with a $5 million expansion that will create 130 jobs. The company, which employs 1,480 people in Westbrook, makes diagnostic health care products for animals.

While Hilton and Idexx and Pike officials said they were pleased with the agreement, Kirby Pilcher, owner of Artel, which makes precision measuring instruments in the industrial park, was not.

He said he must move his 55-employee company to another community. He said industry standards don’t allow his company to be within two miles of a quarry.

“We are beginning to hear about it from our customer base,” he said.

Swanson, the Oriole Street resident, said he doesn’t understand why Hilton pushed for an agreement to allow the quarry to operate.

“Given the fact that the courts, the Planning Board and the (Zoning Board of Appeals) have all ruled against Pike, it just baffles me why this mayor wants this thing to operate so badly,” he said.

Michael Daley, who has lived in his home on Spring Street for 38 years, said the issue was never about Pike’s impact on residents. “This was all about big business. It was never about the residents’ concerns,” he said.

He said the truck traffic will pass by his house.

“We were never bothered by that quarry, because it was nonexistent until Pike decided to come in and disrupt our quality of life and the value of our homes,” Daley said.

If approved by the City Council, the agreement will be submitted to Cumberland County Superior Court for approval. Pike’s court appeal of a zoning board ruling, scheduled for trial Sept. 13, would be dropped.

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at: [email protected]

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