Idexx Laboratories says it still plans to grow its Westbrook facility significantly, even though the company backed away from a proposed $50 million expansion in an announcement last week.

Richard Daigle, director of facilities at Idexx, said Wednesday that the company couldn’t commit to the project until it settled a long-running legal dispute with its neighbor, Pike Industries, over the expansion of a quarry next to the Idexx property.

“The next expansion will involve a new building,” Daigle said. “It’s our plan to continue to grow and expand at this location.”

Idexx, a biotechnology company that makes veterinary products, said last week that it will spend $5 million on a renovation to be completed next year. The project will create new space for consolidating about 130 administrative jobs at the company’s headquarters in the Five Star Industrial Park.

There will be no immediate action on the larger expansion, which would provide 500 new jobs.

The revised plans were disclosed when Idexx and Pike Industries announced Friday that they had reached a consent agreement, brokered by city officials, to settle their dispute over the quarry.

Iddex had threatened not to invest further in Westbrook unless the city went ahead with a rezoning plan for the industrial park that would have prohibited the use of Pike’s quarry.

The consent agreement limits Pike to blasting eight times a year, curbs the intensity of the explosions and restricts truck traffic to an average of 45 vehicles a day.

Mayor Colleen Hilton said Wednesday that Idexx officials told her about their scaled-back expansion plans during the consent agreement negotiations.

“I don’t feel like they have backed away from their $50 million expansion,” Hilton said. “I feel really good about the intent of both companies.”

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 and Artel Inc., which manufactures precision measuring instruments for liquid-handling labs.

Kirby Pilcher, Artel’s president, has said it cannot co-exist with a company that blasts so close to its facility. Officials at Artel, along with residents in the nearby Birdland neighborhood, say they were excluded from the negotiations that led to the consent agreement.

The settlement will be the subject of a City Council public hearing and vote at 7 p.m. Monday at Westbrook High School. Hilton said she is expecting a large turnout.

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]


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