2018-08-31 / Front Page

Complaints about yard continue

Board will continue hearing on Sept. 13
By Wm. Duke Harrington Staff Writer


Flanked by his attorney, David Jones, left, and engineer Jason Vafiades of Atlantic Resource Consultants, right, Arundel contractor William Stilphen protests an Aug. 23 planning board decision to end a public hearing on his contractor yard application after 90 minutes, before any of his supporters got a chance to speak. (Duke Harrington photo) Flanked by his attorney, David Jones, left, and engineer Jason Vafiades of Atlantic Resource Consultants, right, Arundel contractor William Stilphen protests an Aug. 23 planning board decision to end a public hearing on his contractor yard application after 90 minutes, before any of his supporters got a chance to speak. (Duke Harrington photo) ARUNDEL — Residents hoping for a ruling against a neighboring contractor talked themselves right out of a ruling, at least at the Aug. 23 planning board meeting.

About 90 minutes into a public hearing — time largely consumed by two of the residents and their attorneys — board chairman Richard Ganong called the clock. That brought protests from the contractor, William Stilphen, and several neighbors he said said came along to speak on his behalf.

However, Ganong assured the crowd of about 40 people — a significant turnout by usual standards — that the hearing would be continued at the next planning board meeting, Sept. 13.

“You can’t expect people, after other speak for an hour and a half, to be here at the next meeting,” Stiphen’s attorney, David Jones, said.

“Oh, for God’s sake, you’re going to get a chance to speak for five hours at the next meeting,” Ganong said. “We’re not curtailing any discussion. I’m sorry that you are upset, but we have seven other items on our agenda and we have to vacate this property (Mildred L Day Elementary School) buy 10 o’clock.”

A decision on Stilphen’s application for a Level 2 contractor yard permit, for his 5-acre lot at 13 Stilphen Way, was tabled and put off to the September session, although Ganong said the board would actually have up to 30 days after that meeting to render a decision.

Stilphen’s lot, which is in the town’s R4 rural conservation zone, has access off of Sinnott Road. A contingent of neighbors, led by Stacy and Dewey Gile, and Lynn Howe, say Stilphen’s business Pave-Tek, represents an environmental hazard, while his operations routinely disrupt the peace and tranquility of their residential area. They fear, allowing Stilphen a more permissive permit than the one he now carries would only serve to increase those issues, while decreasing their property values.

Last year, selectmen signed two consent agreements with Stilphen after the neighbors complained he was violating a conditional use permit granted in 2003, by storing more heavy equipment on site than allowed in his conditional use permit. The neighbors also complained that Stilphen had stored a tanker on site for a fuel delivery business, without environmental hazard plans.

Stilphen said that truck has not been on site for more than two years.

The neighbors also noted that Stilphen was running a medical marijuana cultivation facility not allowed in the rural conservation zone. As a result of the consent agreements, the marijuana operation was moved off site,

The consent agreement gave Stilphen 60 days to obtain from the town a Contractor Yard 2 permit from the town. That deadline expired Aug. 13, but the town allowed Stilphen to continue operating, given that he had initiated the process and was work ing with engineers and attorneys to meet all site guidelines.

Some neighbors argued that because he did not meet the deadline in the consent agreement, Stilphen should have had the permits pulled.

Jason Vadfiades, of Atlantic Resource Consultants has said the delay was due in part to his going through five surveyors trying to find one to subcontract that portion of the job.

“In this economic climate, it’s not always easy to find someone on the spot,” he said.

But the neighbors complain Stilphen has violated or ignored town permits and ordinances on his lot going back 17 years.

“Mr. Stilphen’s actions (or lack thereof) speak much louder than his words. So far, he has delivered nothing but empty promises, and it is time for his feet to be held to the fire,” wrote Bruce Read, the attorney for the neighbors,” in a letter to the town.

Selectmen voted last year to have code enforcement officer Jim Nagle inspect the Stilphen property and, until the new permit is approved, hold him to a prior permit issued in 2003.

That permit allows Steilphen to park no more than two dump trucks and two trailers on his property. The rest, they said, including any additional vehicles, a big rig trailer that Stilphen uses to store most of his work equipment, and even storage trailers with his personal effects, had to be moved to another location.

Staff Writer Duke Harrington can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

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