The Maine Superior Court has ruled that the town of Falmouth has the “unambiguous” right to extend a sewer line through The Woodlands neighborhood.

The ruling will allow the $6.6 million sewer project to begin as soon as Jan. 3.

The Woodlands Homeowners Association filed a lawsuit against the town in November, claiming that an existing sewer easement didn’t allow the town to build a new line through the private neighborhood. It also filed for a restraining order to prevent the town from starting the work until the lawsuit was resolved.

The court sided with the town on Dec. 9, saying the easement “unambiguously grants the Town the right to engage in the planned construction.” The easement allows the town to maintain existing sewer lines and also install new lines and upgrades as needed, Town Manager Nathan Poore said in a press release. The court also said that any further delay on this project would place an unfair burden on town taxpayers.

The homeowners association, which has opposed the project since it was initially proposed three years ago, will file a motion with the court for reconsideration this week, according to its attorney, Jonathan Brogan. He reiterated that he hopes under reconsideration the court will see the easement does not allow the town to build the new lines.

Homeowners association Treasurer Jim Solley did not respond to a request to comment.


The West Falmouth project will modernize and expand the sewer system, which currently has a number of bottlenecks that can lead to system failure, town officials have said. The sewer system also cannot support the increasing number of homes in that part of town, Poore has said, and the project will provide for current and future development. Other areas impacted by the construction will be Woods Road, Middle Road and the Falmouth Road pump station.

Drilling holes for the sewer line is the first step that will begin in early January on The Woodlands’ Pinehurst Lane and Woodland Drive, Poore said.  That work, expected to take one or two weeks, had been scheduled for November before the lawsuit was filed. The remainder of the construction in The Woodlands will begin after the spring and will take two months to complete. Construction on the project outside of the neighborhood is expected to take about nine months to finish.

While other locations were explored for this project, including a Central Maine Power corridor on Woods Road, The Woodlands is the best option “for the greater good,” Poore told The Forecaster in November.

In a letter Brogan wrote to the town in April about the association’s plan to take legal action, he said, “There is no benefit to the Woodlands neighbors or the Woodlands Club for having a new and separate West Falmouth sewer line constructed through a mature private development, and there is a significant risk to the underground infrastructure during the process.”

Poore said the lawsuit cost the town $55,000 in legal fees, which will be covered by the sewer project’s budget.

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