Dresden takes legal action against gravel quarry and its owner for infringement

Heather Beasley, left, talks to Jon Madore and Kevin Campbell about the border during a public viewing Nov. 7, 2020, at her Dresden estate. File Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this photo

DRESDEN — Even as the Dresden Appeal Board prepares to resume its drawn-out violation hearing and halt the work order at one of the city’s gravel pits, city officials have filed a lawsuit in justice against the pit and its owner for the violations they cited at the pit from 2019.

The lawsuit, filed in Wiscasset District Court by the City of Dresden against the Ballard-Milligan Gravel Corp. and Heather Beasley, seeks correction of the ongoing violations cited at the gravel pit at 334 Cedar Grove Road, payment of a fine and a permanent injunction.

These violations include the excavation of gravel and the cutting of trees within the 150 foot buffer that must be maintained between the affected land and the property line.

Third coach Allan Moeller Sr. said on Friday gravel pit activity had encroached on Ballard Road and suppressed it.

“The city of Dresden wants to go back,” Moeller said.

He said the lawsuit had nothing to do with Beasley’s pending appeal.

Beasley declined to comment on Friday pending legal advice.

In his appeal filed with the Appeal Board, Beasley challenged the original Notice of Violation and Stop Work Order issued in 2019, claiming that because his gravel pit had been in operation for decades, it was exempt from regulations subsequently imposed by the State of Maine and the City of Dresden, which include maintaining a 150-foot buffer strip.

She also contested the city’s ownership of Ballard Road.

These violations indicate that Beasley and her company violated city land use and gravel pit ordinances by digging too close to the property line and that she and her company failed to submit a remediation plan. for work carried out in the gravel pit.

Heather Beasley talks about her gravel quarry during a public viewing Nov. 7, 2020, at her Dresden estate. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this photo

James Valley, Dresden’s Code Enforcement Officer, issued a Notice of Violation May 15, 2019 to Beasley and the Gravel Pit, stating that a 150-foot buffer zone identified in the Use of City land was not kept between its gravel pit and that of its neighbor, Jack Shaw, and indicated that the city had no agreement with Shaw accepting a reduced buffer. The notice gave her until June 3 to submit a written plan on how she would fix this and bring the property into compliance with city land use ordinances.

On July 29, the city issued a stop work order, halting all activity at the gravel pit, because it said it had not received any plans detailing how conditions at the gravel pit would be corrected.

In September, Beasley and his attorney appealed Valley’s decision to the Dresden Appeal Board on three grounds. She maintains that her gravel pit is not subject to the city’s land use and development ordinance because operations at the pit predate those regulations, setbacks from a road or of a right of way do not apply because the road is not a public road and the Dresden Code Enforcement Office and elected officials wrongly rejected the remediation plan that was submitted in response to the notice of violation issued in May.

Around the same time, she split her gravel pit into two properties, a decision described by deeds filed in the Lincoln County Deeds Registry.

The Appeal Board first met on this issue in October 2019 and scheduled a hearing for December 2019. The Board continued to meet in 2020 until the COVID-19 pandemic ended. in-person meetings.

In February 2020 the Dresden Board of Selectmen, after hearing a presentation by historian Jay Robbins, decided to take legal action to determine that Ballard Road is a municipal road. In October, the Appeal Board conducted a site visit to the gravel pit and scheduled another meeting, which was cancelled.

The Dresden Appeals Board is due to meet again on this issue at 6 p.m. on April 29.

The lawsuit also requests reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees.

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