Wednesday, November 11, 2009

City, Pike Present Arguments in Court

Lawyers for Pike Industries and the city of
Westbrook offered conflicting testimony Tuesday in a court hearing on Pike's
request to operate a quarry on Spring Street while it appeals the city's
decision to revoke its permit. Chief Justice Thomas Humphrey made no rulings in
the 90-minute hearing in Cumberland County Superior Court, but he may do so
within days.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: City: Pike is Violating Shutdown Order (November 6, 2009)


Anonymous said...

my opinion is that i have lived here in westbrook for many years and not once has this quarry caused me concern. i ask my neighbors my peers and those who disagree with my opinions if this quarry is a threat. not a single yes yet. we as a growing city should not discriminate against a company that has pled a fair case. i support pike.

Anonymous said...

Well, until the last 3 years the quarry was basically inactive since Blue Rock never implemented their plans to expand operations by moving from Main Street to this location. Over 60% of the rock that's been mined from this site has been taken by Pike in only 3 years of operation since 2005, which has caused the current backlash by the residential and business neighbors in this area. If this isn't a problem why aren't any of the nearby residents or businesses supporting Pike's plans here?

Blue Rock's inactivity at this site didn't cause the neighboring residents or businesses any problems either until Pike bought the property in 2005 and substantially ramped up mining activity at this site.

Best of luck trying to make out Pike to be the victim here. They are the 2,000 pound gorilla that currently has a restraining order from the state that prohibits them from buying any more quarries or paving companies in the state. Was that discrimation too?

David Tapley said...

I feel compelled to reply to a post. A statement was made that "not once has this quarry caused me a concern". This is the same narcissistic attitude that infuriated me with the opposistion to the development of Stroudwater Place. I "bothers me", or it doesn't. It affects "my views, or my traffic".
We are a community. We are the citizens of the great city of Westbrook. Smart business development is VITAL to the strength and properity of a city(Yes Drew and others, Stroudwater Place is the right venue, in the right location).
Some of you may feel that your individual concerns trump those of our struggling elderly on fixed incomes that can't manage tax increases. A seasonal automated quarry may employ 10-15 people. While the quarry may not bother you, it bothers a large part of the city's tax base in that area. If those businesses leave, your wallet will be "bothered".

Anonymous said...

I think the bigger question is does anyone think for a minute that Idexx will pack up anmd leave. They just finished the work on their mananufacturing facility and if the city had called their bluff ( a bit of leadership from the soon to be former mayor ) then the city would have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. These businesses have tried to force the city to act by threatening to leave. Time to say "Go". We are a city that protects everyones right to do business.

David Tapley said...

Really? Think about it. Do you realize how many cities fight, plead, and beg for a business such as Idexx to make their city a home. If we are not careful, another city may make Idexx a deal they can't refuse. I ask you, how many cities have stepped up, and said Pike, we want you here. A city must decide what businesses are best for their citizens. When did life start becoming "fair?"

James Tranchemontagne said...

First, it is nott about just Idexx. There are many business in the Westbrook Works group that don't support it.

Pike didn't do it's homework when it bought Bluerock. Now they also realize that most Westbrook citizen want to see their city move to light manufacturing. There are other place were Pike's concept would be better.

If you want to call a bluff it is Pike saying they will not develop the Main St quarry. Million of dollar they are going to walk away from? The current quarry there couldn't generate that much money.

skybox121 said...

Pike is a global industry. I am willing to say they anticipated possible static with this endeavor. I personally believe they bought Blue Rock Industries for that specific deposit. Location, Location, Location! There might be a billion dollars worth of aggregate buried on spring street. As southern Maine grows the aggregate from that deposit will be in the roads, bridges, home foundations, future high rises and anywhere concrete or asphalt is placed. This battle is far from over. The legal cost for the city, the taxpayers and it's insurance company must be eye catching to say the least.

Anonymous said...

couple of things, skybox has hit the nail on the head, I remember reading at the start of this fight that the number $600 million was talked about as the value of the rock on Spring Street, no one is going to walk away from that and if the City is successful in the rezoning (that is actually spot zoning, as it does not conform to the comprehensive plan)some one will end up paying Pike for those assets. That some body will be the city of Westbrook. Will Idexx and the rest of the Westbrook works gang then step up and reimburse the city? we all know that answer. If anyone thinks that is not possible do some research to a recently settled case in Pennsylvania in a very similar circumstance the court ordered a municipality to reimburse a quarry owner $120,000 per month for the next 20 years. This is the risk in this game. Some vision!
Secondly, some investment blogs are starting to talk about Idexx as a potential takeover candidate. What will happen then? Nothing ties Idexx to Maine? The bulk of Q3 profits were from Asian operations. That site has changed hands in the past and I would bet it will in the future. What happens then? Pike is tied to the rock souce, they are one of the few industries that cannot be sent off shore. As Maine continues to increase the cost of doing business why if you dont have to would you stay here? Jonathan Ayers is a very bright man who gets paid $2,000,000 per year to assure maximum shareholder value....can you see the future?!!

David Tapley said...

Now Idexx is leaving? I thought they weren't going anywhere? Where do I start? I'll guess I'll just use the given money figures.
600 million, and 2 million. If I'm investing in 600 million dollars worth of rock, I'm going to do my homework. It is quite obvious that Pike has a very large legal team. The Zoning Board of Appeals quite easily discerned that Blue Rock never had the legal right to blast and quarry to their intended plan of use. Did Pike's legal team miss this prior to purchase? There are two scenarios.
Firstly, details were missed by the legal team, and I'm pretty sure that quarry was an "as is" purchase. Any problems with the development are with Pike and the seller, Blue Rock. Where does the city fit into this?
Second scenario. Pike is aware that they legally can't use the quarry to it's intended use, but 600 million dollars worth of rock is their motivation. A very well constructed ploy of fairness and compromise is presented, and the public bites. Heck, the Citizens for Balanced Growth even lead the fight for them. So Pike buys a quarry the can't develop, and yet they cleverly and financially create themselves the "victims" of misfortune and bullying by white collar eliteist.
I suppose one realizes that I believe the second scenario is currently happening. Jonathan Ayes may be a very bright man that gets paid 2 million dollars. Bright peolpe are skilled at obtaining goals. Mr. Ayers goal is simply the rock. Right, wrong, legal, or illegal, it's all about the rock.
I personally feel that the leaders of the city have to stand up to this bogus fight. The city can not be fooled by this international giant. That section of Westbrook is vital to the city's future. 600 million dollars is Pike's misfotune, and the city stands to gain 10 times that figure with the proper tenants in that area.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Tapley, to be clear Jonathan Ayers is the CEO of Idexx, his motivation is the fact that he was made to look like a fool at a Board of Directors meeting when someone asked about the quarry next to the new proposed world headquarters and his response was "what quarry?" Once informed he said "we can make that go away" and so began Idexx using the city and all the pawns of westbrook works to get rid of Pike. Ultimately, this is all about egos, his, Jerre Bryants and last but not least the soon to be former mayor Bruce Chaluda. The "international giant" that is fooling the city is Idexx. The collateral damage is all the teachers and other hard working city employees who will end up laid off as the legal fees climb into the millions of dollars. Pike has said that they are in this fight for the long haul and with a market cap of over $28 billion (with a B) 5 years from now when this hits the US supreme court, the City even if it wins, loses. Pike has proposed a very fair compromise that can end this tomorrow, lets hope the new mayor does the rght thing for the City and makes it happen.

David Tapley said...

My mistake about Mr Ayers. I got the names mixed up. Simply put-The city concedes, Pike wins, the citizens's of Westbrook lose. That is my opinion. You are free to yours. Don't get integrity confused with ego.

Anonymous said...

The city's ace legal team is ready and willing to spend the taxpayers money at all cost! It is getting RIDICULAS! I wonder who will be in the grab bag of lawsuits against the city in 2010? Did they allocate for them in the budget? Our schools will have to have a four day week and the attourneys will be buying their next vacation home.

Spring St Resident said...

Anon writes: "Pike has said that they are in this fight for the long haul and with a market cap of over $28 billion (with a B) 5 years from now when this hits the US supreme court, the City even if it wins, loses."

You do a great job of summing up Pike's offer which looks a lot more like a threat than any kind of compromise to me. Maybe this is what Pike's idea of a compromise is:

"OK Westbrook, you win. I agree we can't do anything we want at the Spring Street quarry without additional city approvals as we've claimed all along. We'll instead compromise by continuing to do the same thing we've done for the past 3 years for the next 80 or so years, which incidently, has apparently really upset the nearby businesses and residents. Oh yeah, the other part of our compromise is that we won't sue the city. Take it or leave it."

Compromise to me means that both parties are giving something up and Pike isn't giving up anything here. They already know there is NO way they can possibly prevail in court with their argument they have grandfathered rights to put an asphalt and cement plants on this property without Westbrook's sign off.

The only thing Pike's offering is not to hurt the City of Westbrook any more than they have to.