An agreement between the city of Westbrook and local quarry operator Pike Industries allowing the company to blast rock despite neighbors’ complaints was partially rejected by Maine’s highest court today, drawing into question whether the company can operate until the legal issue is straightened out.

Two neighbors – Smiling Hill Farm and Artel, a manufacturer of precision scientific equipment that must be idled during Pike’s blasting – had challenged the agreement.

A Pike official said today that they can continue to operate and blast rock despite the ruling by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. An Artel official said it means the company has to stop operations.

The consent agreement between Pike, its neighbor Idexx Laboratories and the city of Westbrook, was approved by the business court in 2010 and allowed Pike to blast rock at its Spring Street quarry under certain conditions.

Other nearby businesses, Artel Inc. and Smiling Hill Farm, appealed the consent agreement, claiming it was illegal.

In the appeal decision today, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled partially in favor of Artel and Smiling Hill, and sent the agreement back to the Maine Business and Consumer Court for further review.

The opinion said that the city had the authority to enter into a consent agreement that declared Pike’s property grandfathered.

However, it said, the city could not enforce the “performance standards” placed on Pike’s quarrying operations in the consent agreement, unless they were adopted in a contract zone or the city’s zoning ordinances. Therefore, the agreement was sent back to business court.

“It is a tremendous win for us, and we couldn’t be more tickled,” said Warren Knight, president of Smiling Hill Farm.

Artel was to hold a press conference at 3 p.m. today at its office in Westbrook’s Five Star Industrial Park.

Pike only resumed its quarrying operation in December, the first blasting since 2008, when nearby Idexx Laboratories first took issue with Pike’s operation.

Idexx, which manufactures veterinary equipment, said heavy industry was incompatible with its image and threatened to build its multimillion-dollar headquarters elsewhere if the city allowed Pike to continue blasting. The high-profile, contentious battle drew in other neighbors and multiple lawsuits were filed before the court approved the consent agreement.