Pike Industries won’t blast rock at its quarry in Westbrook before the Maine Business and Consumer Court takes further action on the consent agreement that has regulated activity at the site.

Pike had planned to set off four blasts in a two-week period, starting Tuesday and ending July 10. But a Maine Supreme Judicial Court decision on June 14, saying the consent agreement approved by the business court in 2010 was flawed, called into question Pike’s right to blast.

Mayor Colleen Hilton said Tuesday that at the city’s request, Pike has agreed not to blast until the consent agreement is reviewed by the business court. The company has determined that it can “meet customer needs” without immediately producing more rock, according to a written statement from Hilton.

The city will allow Pike to continue processing and transporting rock that’s at the site off Spring Street, she said.

Pike reached the consent agreement with the city and Idexx Laboratories, a neighboring business that threatened to leave Westbrook if Pike was allowed to expand its quarrying.

The agreement, which restricted what Pike could do in the quarry, was appealed by Artel Inc. and Smiling Hill Farm, two nearby businesses that felt they – and the rest of the public – were unfairly left out of the negotiations.

Ruling on that appeal, the state Supreme Court said the consent agreement was flawed because it gave the city the authority to enforce the restrictions, which include limits on truck traffic and noise, and the vibration and frequency of blasts. State law says the city can enforce such regulations only if they’re in a zoning ordinance.

Artel and Smiling Hill Farm said that because the ruling vacated the consent agreement, it also stripped Pike of its right to blast rock.

Pike said the court took issue with only the enforcement aspect of the agreement, and the company should be allowed to operate while it works out the issue.

Both parties said they were looking to the city to say whether it would allow the blasting.

Pike filed a motion asking the business court to temporarily reinstate the consent agreement while the company pursues a zoning amendment to resolve the issue raised by the Supreme Court. Pike also asked the court to expedite that approval process to minimize the disruption of its business.

Artel filed an opposition to Pike’s request to speed the process, saying it was “based on false premises,” including that it’s the court’s role to minimize the impact on Pike.

Artel also filed a motion to reaffirm a stay on Pike’s blasting that was issued before the consent agreement was reached.

The decision announced Tuesday essentially has the same effect as the stay would, said David Bertoni, an attorney for Artel, which manufactures equipment for the precise measurement of liquids.

“That’s what we wanted,” he said.

 

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at: 791-6364 or at: [email protected]