Tuesday, April 14, 2009

To Be Continued...

The latest in Pike v. Idexx et al:

Zoning Board of Appeals members called an end late
Monday night to public testimony on Pike's controversial expansion plans, ending
an information-gathering process that consumed four nights over the past two
months. Board members said they will resume their deliberations May 6 in an
effort to determine whether Code Enforcement Officer Richard Gouzie was correct
in concluding that Pike Industries may continue to mine rock from the Spring
Street quarry but may not operate an asphalt plant on the property.
- John C.L. Morgan

(Full disclosure: My wife is employed by Idexx.)

Related: MPBN Takes a Look at the Pike Affair Through Colored Lenses (April 8, 2009)


Anonymous said...

Pike's attorneys opened the hearing by building a case they were grandfathered under the 1971 Maine Mining Permit and spent hours focused on testimony from Blue Rock employees arguing this point only to apparently abandon the grandfathering argument under tough questioning by the ZBA Chair on Monday night. Then he weasled back up to the podium and said he didn't mean to take grandfathering off the table and would use whatever argument worked for them here - he wasn't picky.

Monday night's ZBA session also showed the very worst side of Pike's attorneys as they submitted a surprise affidavit at their closing arguments from an ex city official at their closing arguments who just happened to have gone to Florida on Sunday so he was unavailable for cross examination by either the board or Westbrook Works.

Good neighbors? More like professional slimeballs. Watch the video of the closing arguments on the westbrook city home page to see the Pike attorneys try to build their case out of inferences, assumptions and leading questions, particularly when cross examining Rick Gouzie, the Code Enforcement Officer.

Grandfathering was NEVER intended to enable a corporation to permit a monster industrial facility under much more lax regulations and then mothball it for 40 years to save it to open it up to full production decades later without appropriate public review.

I'm also not convinced they're going to clean up the mess on Main St before they abandon it. They show nice development plans but they're careful to say that they aren't proposing to actually build anything here.

I believe the burden of proof is on Pike to demonstate they have the clear legal right to dramatically ramp up operations at the Spring St quarry and disturb, if not drive out, many of their business and residential neighbors. Pike hasn't come close to meeting this burden of proof and they should not be allowed to quarry, crush, make asphalt or concrete on Spring Street without additional city approvals, which I think we ALL know would never be permitted in this part of the city today.

This mess started with the ZBA 40 years ago and has come full circle. Let's hope they get it right this time.

Anonymous said...

Your Rant is both insulting and baseless in its observations. I have no interest in this spat, other than to say that you are the slime ball for trashing a company that provides jobs in a troubled economy. But you are probably some Solon with a trust fund, and look down on blue collar workers.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I am a blue-collar worker. I was born and raised in Westbrook and went to WHS. We had a reunion a couple of years ago and I got to see my old friends. The smart kids were all living out of state cause thats where they found good jobs. We bring up our own kids to study hard and be respectful of others. We hope they will be able to go to college and have good careers. My wife and I would like them to settle close by and raise their families here but some kids need other jobs besides driving a dump truck full of paving. I am sick and tired of Maine raising and educating great kids only to have them leave the state. Pike does have some good jobs for kids but why do they have to put the quarry in the middle of a business park and drive other jobs away? Pike can put the pit anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Pike can only place the Pit where the aggregate is located in the ground. No matter where they put it, it will always be in someones back yard. If everyone goes to college, then we will have really educated truck drivers and garbage men. There will always be a need for more blue collar jobs than white collar jobs. That is how life is, someone is always going to have to drive the dump truck. There is no shame in driving a truck, people have just put a negative stigma on it.

Anonymous said...

Definition: A blue-collar worker is a member of the working class who typically performs manual labor and earns an hourly wage.

On the basis of this definition, IDEXX, at one location by itself, offers more blue collar jobs than Pike does statewide. This doesn't include all the other "blue collar" jobs in the Business Park provided by other businesses.

The conflict here is between heavy industry blue collar jobs and light industry blue collar jobs.

Anonymous said...

Your an idiot (stupid person by definition) for even posting that Idexx has a blue collar workforce. The janitors might be blue collar, but not much else. Sad....

Anonymous said...

The ZBA chair warned public commenters that the issue in front of them to decide on didn't have anything to do with blue collar vs white collar workers but rather whether Pike has legal grounds to continue and expand operations significantly under a contested permit issued in 1968.

I find it revealing that the primary argument that Pike's supporters have been continually promoting is still the blue collar vs white collar worker slant and that there hasn't been hardly any discussion about Pike's legal rights regarding the spring St Quarry, or the legal rights of their business and residential neighbors not to be illegally infringed upon.

If this is the best argument that Pike's proponents can come up with then I'm feeling a lot better about how this decision is going to come down next month.

Anonymous said...

I am not for or against Pike, However, Pike has been operating at that site for decades. Whether it is legal or not, the city did not act against it.. Pike will have consent through inaction on the city's part.

Anonymous said...

IDEXX has plenty of "blue collar" workers since they make stuff. They manufacture and sell diagnostic test kits all over the world. Who do you think works in the factory making the stuff, and packaging, and warehousing, and shipping and storage and distribution....elves?

A "blue collar" job is an hourly job with manual labor. Doesn't make any difference if you make paper, test kits, or asphalt.

Anonymous said...

This short video sums up many residents' feelings about Pike's massive expansion plans on Spring Street.