FREEPORT

A Cumberland County judge ruled last week that Freeport can continue with scheduled road work despite a resident’s civil action requesting the work be stopped because it interferes with her property.

In April, the town asked the court to throw out the complaint filed by Martina Sullivan, who also claims the town retaliated against her after she began asking questions about the road construction project.

The town is seeking the dismissal of the suit in Cumberland County Superior Court due to insufficient service of process, according to the filing by the town’s attorney, Asha A. Echeverria, of Bernstein Shur in Portland.

The town claims Sullivan, who is representing herself, has not provided copies of the summons and complaint to the town clerk, or any of the selectmen.

On March 31, Sullivan served Town Manager Peter Joseph with a copy of the request for a preliminary injunction, but service to the town manager does not meet the requirement of the Maine Rule of Civil Procedure, the motion states.

Justice Thomas Warren said the plaintiff must present a sworn affidavit or other affirmative evidence that proves she is likely to prevail in the case and the town has no right to go for- ward with the planned road work. Her motion to have the work stopped was denied without prejudice, meaning it can be filed again.

The town does not have the burden of proof in this case, Warren said.

Sullivan, a South Freeport Road resident, is seeking to halt road construction she contends interferes with her property until the town provides proof of the ownership of the road and specific construction plans.

She filed an amended request for a preliminary injunction in Cumberland County Superior Court on April 10, arguing public works crews arrived at her home in July and removed limbs off 30-foot evergreen trees without surveying the road and knowing what the municipality’s right of way width is.

This work resulted in damage to her property, she said. Apart from the damage, the action has caused a loss of privacy and an increase in noise from the road after the screening nature of the trees was removed.

The plaintiff also claims the town has retaliated against her for questioning the right of way width but did not include specific instances of the alleged retaliation in the court filing.

Sullivan claims the town essentially trespassed on her property because crews felled the limbs without permission.

The town’s plans for road construction on South Freeport Road and in the village of South Freeport has been ongoing since 2014.

Sullivan said in December residents received formal notices from the town about the road work but said the letter did not include specifics or the scope of the work to be completed.

In March, the public works department held a public meeting about the work to be done, and Sullivan said the department has no plans, no surveys and no written plans or documents pertaining to the project, or its start date, despite having three years to prepare.

According to the complaint, the date of construction was pushed back to spring and summer 2017.

[email protected]timesrecord.com



Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: