2014-09-12 / Front Page

Compost issue going to Maine court

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

ARUNDEL — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the appealed case of Town of Arundel v. Dubois Livestock, Inc. on Wednesday, Sept. 10 in Bangor.

The case was previously heard by the York County Superior Court last September.

The issue between the Randrick Trust, which owns Dubois Livestock, Inc., and the town arose after it was discovered the company was maintaining a compost operation on its six-acre property on Irving Road.

According to the court document from 2013, “The composting operation was deemed to be a solid waste processing facility by the Arundel Planning Board, a use not permitted in the R-4 zone. However, the facility was permitted at the time the processing facility opened.”

Because the Dubois family began the compost operation when the use was allowed – before the town’s Land Use Ordinance – the planning board granted the family a conditional use permit in February 2011. The permit included specific regulatory standards the Trust must comply with.

“They received a conditional-use permit to continue the operation as it was with no expansion or changes,” said Tad Redway, town planner.

The conditions included an annual inspection and the requirement that the Dubois family provide the town with “bills of lading and an annual summary report,” according to the court document.

The Dubois family failed to appeal within the allotted 30 days that their business violated municipal ordinance.

The family did, later, provide members of the planning board with a letter from the Maine Department of Agriculture that validated the facility as an “agricultural composting operation,” according to the 2013 court document.

Town officials in Arundel then sought to make sure the operations at Dubois Livestock, Inc. adhered to the standards set by the town as part of the conditional use permit. The Dubois family refused to comply with the town’s conditional uses, according to the court document, by refusing to relinquish an annual summary report and denying town officials access to the property.

The town then issued Dubois Livestock, Inc. a Notice of Violation. Members of the Dubois family again appealed to the Arundel Zoning Board of Appeals.

The case was heard by the York County Superior Court to determine “whether the [agency] correctly applied the law and whether its fact findings are supported by any competent evidence,” according to the decision.

The Superior Court ruled in favor of the town, saying the conditional-use requirements were valid and rightful.

The Dubois family then appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

There is no way to determine what decision will be made, said Redway. “It could have some significant implications not just for us but on a statewide basis,” Redway said. “It would all depend on if they were to vacate the decision.”

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