The Ludwig Road gravel pit will soon appear on the Dresden Planning Board’s agenda once again, as the Dresden Board of Appeals found the board failed to produce the findings and conclusions used to approve the pit.
The Dresden Board of Appeals voted unanimously to grant the appeal filed by Dresden residents John Matzke, Donald and Debra Swift, and William Waters and remand the matter of Dick Condon’s application for a gravel pit back to the planning board during a meeting Tuesday, April 26.
The board of appeals did, however, unanimously agree that the planning board was correct in its determination that Condon’s lot was legal and conformed to the town’s ordinance.
John Richardson and Paul Brunetti, of the Brunswick law firm Moncure & Barnicle, represented Matzke, the Swifts, and Waters during the hearing. Winthrop attorney Mary Denison, of the Lake & Denison law firm, represents Condon.
The board of appeals directed the planning board to present how it addressed, modified, or waived each of 15 submission requirements for major developments outlined in the land use ordinance.
The town’s land use ordinance allows the planning board to modify or waive any submission requirements the board believes are not applicable to the application. However, another section of the same ordinance requires the board to produce conclusions showing the provisions of the ordinance have been met.
Board of appeals Chair Joe Atkinson said the Maine Municipal Association’s manual for planning boards states that if a board fails to make written findings of fact and conclusions, the court will remand the case back to the board to prepare conclusions before reaching a decision.
Although the planning board provided a record of all the proceedings, including meeting and public hearing minutes and materials submitted to the board, the planning board did not present its findings or conclusions in regards to its decision to approve the Condon gravel pit.
“Even with all this information provided, there are no assurances that we can find all the considerations made by the planning board to arrive at its position,” Atkinson said. “What we don’t want to do is unwind the agreement that was given, but we would appreciate clarity.”
The planning board will explain how each of the 15 requirements was addressed, modified, or waived, as well as what facts were obtained and considered. The board’s approval of the permit, as well as the 13 conditions the board imposed on Condon, are still in effect.
The board of appeals also discussed the planning board’s decision to grant the permit despite questions about the boundary between the Condon and Swift properties.
A survey by David Starr, of Gartley & Dorsky Engineering & Surveying, presented during a public hearing Dec. 15, showed a discrepancy regarding the Swift-Condon boundary line. Waters also recently had a survey of his land conducted.
Denison said Condon is in the process of obtaining a new survey of his property. Regardless of how the surveys turn out, Denison said the pit will maintain a 150-foot buffer from surrounding property lines.
Condon is required to submit a final property map with all neighboring property lines to the town before any commercial work can begin in the pit as one of the conditions of the permit set by the planning board. If it is determined Condon did encroach on the Swifts’ property, Condon must also make repairs to the property and install a buffer.
Denison said Condon may ask the planning board to table further discussion on the pit until the new survey of his property is completed.