Dresden selectmen

Ballard Road gravel pit issue resurfaces

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 11:45am

A dispute between Dresden and gravel pit owner Heather Beasley was joined by adjacent landowners Jack and Jason Shaw at the selectman’s meeting on Monday, June 10.  

During the public discussion period, contractor Jason Shaw, who with his father Jack owns property abutting the historic rangeway, objected to a recent degradation of the roadway.

Shaw said he was informed recently that the rangeway, discontinued but not abandoned by the town, was impassable apparently due to gravel mining by the adjacent Ballard-Milligan Gravel Corp.

“The whole road has gone into the gravel pit,” said Shaw.

Selectman Allan Moeller Sr. conceded the road had been discontinued for winter maintenance but was not considered by the town to be abandoned.

“Two years ago you could drive on the road,” said Moeller.

Moeller said Code Enforcement Officer James Valley informed Beasley the pit was in violation of a 150-foot setback requirement.

In 2018, Beasley argued before the board that the town could not prove claims on the rangeway. She told the board her family had been excavating gravel there since 1910.

Reached by telephone, Beasley said Valley notified her of the violation May 15 but had offered the possibility of negotiating with Shaw to reduce the buffer to 25 feet or eliminate it completely if both parties agreed in writing.

Beasley said she had Damariscotta Attorney Ed Dardis write to the Shaws proposing the agreement.

Jack Shaw told selectmen Monday, he was not inclined to settle the issue with Beasley according to the agreement proposed through attorney Dardis.

“I don’t want this to go away,” said Shaw. “We want things back the way they were.” Shaw did not believe Beasley had the resources or the gravel to restore the road. “It would take thousands of yards of gravel,” he said.

Beasley said she had been given from the May 15 violation notice until June 3 to present a solution to the selectmen.

She said she was licensed for her 10-acre pit though the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. “It is grandfathered. The town has not proved that I don’t own the land,” she said.

She said no one claimed a violation when she supplied gravel for the construction of the Dresden-Richmond Bridge.

She conceded that a short stretch of the road may have washed out with the heavy rains this spring. If pressed she would provide an access road, possibly through the pit, she said.

Moeller said the board referred the issue to the town’s attorney, Jessica Avery. He said the board had not reviewed Avery’s response so could not comment on any next steps.