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Town of Acton
Planning Board Meeting Minutes
February 7, 2008
Members Present: Chip Venell, Jim Fiske, Tom Cashin, Keith Davis & Yoli Gallagher
Members Absent: Randy Goodwin
Guests: Shelly Blaisdell (secretary), Ken Paul (CEO), Larissa Crockett, Ethan Current, Andrea
Rose (Observer), Arthur Kelly, Pam McAlinden, Randy Tome (Woodard & Curran), Shawn
Frank (Sebago Technics), Tom Rousseau, Debi Rix, Lois
Meeting called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman Chip Venell
1. Chip opens the meeting introducing Randy Tome from Woodard & Curran who was hired to
consult on the Hannon application. Tom asks Randy whether or not they can rely on the State
permitting process or should the board rely on their own process, and says that he understands it
won’t hold up the application, but would like Randy to touch on the points of this.
Randy Tome shows the board a DEP application that his firm did on January 6, 2006 for the
town of Ogunquit, as an example and a comparison of what something like this could cost.
Randy said that he reviewed the towns ordinances and said that he didn’t find too many things
that will be required and would like to discuss this further. He said he isn’t a lawyer and can’t
interpret the legal side of things, and hopes the town has their own lawyer for those things.
Chip said he would like to know from Randy, now that he has gone over the application and also
looked at the Towns ordinances, what parts of the application is the board going to need to go
back to the applicant and get additional materials on? Chip asks Randy to start with his list of
things he feels will be necessary. Randy said he will start with what the DEP will require and
then go from there to his own recommendations. Randy said he has worked in solid waste for
twenty-five years and permitted a lot of transfer stations in the state of Maine and feels that the
DEP does a good job at review and they will go through all the things he is about to mention
plus a lot more. He feels Eric at the DEP does a good job and the board should rely on him.
Randy said the DEP application has on their list: noise, odor, storm water, leach aid that will be
generated in this building and how is that collected and treated, traffic flow, natural resources,
IF& W review, air quality, abutters list, public hearing, financial ability of the applicant to meet
his requirements, technical ability, civil criminal disclosure statement will need to be submitted
to check background of applicants, set backs, flood planes, site plan requirements, utilities, etc.
Tom asks Randy about what the percentage of waste is? Randy said that he read it was
planned for 800 tons per day and Ken said he thought there was a resubmission that listed
almost nothing for waste distribution. Randy said that he thought that was an excessive
amount because that was more than the facility in Portland, which is 500 tons per day and
services all of the greater Portland area and the waste contracts are already spoken for, so he
doesn’t know where the waste would be coming from. Keith asks Randy if that is grounds for
dismissal? Randy said that he isn’t a lawyer and that would be a good question for an attorney,
but he would think that 800 tons per day would be very difficult to work at this facility.
Tom said that in the little descriptive materials that were submitted, he counted ten different
areas that the applicant delineated for what would have to go where and the side system, etc.
and there are a number of areas that are not accounted for on the site. Randy said that he would
agree with that and explains that the applicant is talking about bringing in 100 yard (full sized45 to 50 foot) box trailers, plus the tractor itself, and the area measures approximately 130 feet,
so you could barely get that tractor and trailer inside the building and then to unload it and it is
all at the same grade so you have to practically push out the waste almost as you were going
out the door and then you would have to get it out of the way before the next truck comes
through, all while trying to sort it and get it into containers. Randy said he read that the
applicant said he will try to keep it all in side for good reason, but to do that process will be
difficult to do. Tom said that the fact that Randy finds it somewhat impossible or illogical and
some of the board finds it incredible, would it be unreasonable to ask for an interior layout, as
well as a site plan drawn by an engineer surveyor and also there is nothing on hand do date to
allow you or a civil engineer to do any grade issues. Randy suggested that a detailed operations
plan combined with a layout plan from the applicant would be helpful because he might just
show you an open floor plan with some roll off containers that he may say will pick up waste
with a front end loader and dump into containers, but after the waste that is on the floor that
needs to get out of the way and then shifted to all these containers, how much space is really left
to do that. It may be evident that there won’t be enough room in the building to turn a front end
Randy said that the information that he has reviewed from the Town’s attorney says that it is
best that you handle the application that has come before you as a planning board and then act
on that before you send it to the DEP. Tom points out that the board has been cautioned that
they can’t hold up their process while waiting for the State’s approval because the board is
bound by a timeline, but the way the board can work with that situation and still attain the
same goal is to basically ask for the same submission.
Randy said that he is going to keep referring to the legal opinion. If the applicant is astute, he
will do it in such a way to coordinate with the Maine DEP so he is not duplicating those efforts.
Jim asks if there is a way to verify what was submitted and what the board needs to request he
submit. Randy said he is going to have to coordinated with DEP and tell them what his plans
are and what engineers he has hired to do the work and they should meet with them so there are
no misunderstandings. Randy also said that that information should come back to the board
simultaneously so the board is kept up to date on where in the process they are.
Tom asks Randy which items on the list of requirements is his firm unable to accommodate the
board with? Randy said that they work with a few traffic engineers, for instance, or they could
easily recommend someone to the board. If there are no conflicts then these people could
subcontract through his firm. Chip said that they are not expecting Randy’s firm to do all the
work and Randy said he couldn’t do it anyway because it is a conflict. It is up to the applicant
to do that work himself and then Randy would review it. Randy said that if the applicant wants
to use a certain firm because it is less expensive, for instance, and it is a bad report, in his
opinion, then he will report back to the board that he doesn’t like it and it isn’t right and suggest
the applicant do it again.
Keith asks Randy if he has ever done something like this before? Randy asks Keith if he means
a peer review and says that his firm has done them before for the city of Portland and the city of
Auburn and they look at projects that other consultants have designed and give them the o.k.
before they get built. Keith clarifies by saying that when you are talking about doing this in
conjunction with DEP what is the process? Keith said he is looking for Randy’s
recommendation with this being a private entity with the town, how should they proceed. The
board has said all along that they want to do the process because the board wants the
information, and the applicant has said he would like to have town approval before he goes to
DEP. Randy said that the town is talking about doing a lot of the same studies as DEP, so he
doesn’t necessarily agree that it may be cheaper for the applicant.
Keith questions if Randy Tome is recommending that the board ask the applicant to file with
DEP and do this process with the town at the same time. Randy answers that if it were him, he
would send it to DEP first because they speak for the health and human safety of the State, but
you are looking out for the welfare of your Town, so it doesn’t keep you from requesting
additional information and it doesn’t say you are automatically approving it either. Chip said
that if the board is held to 75 days, and the applicant says that time is up and he is not granting
the board any more time, then the board would take a vote at that time and would not approve
the application due to lack of information, so the applicant is not going to push it because it is
not in his best interest to do this. Chip said he thinks the board needs answers from the
applicant to a list of questions, such as the amount of tonnage he is applying for and has the
amount been amended from previous requests?
Randy said he will send a complete list to the secretary of what the DEP will require and what
the board should require and things that he feels are missing. The secretary in turn will forward
the list to the applicant and the board for review.
Tom said that on their site visit to the Triano facility, it was brought to the boards attention
that the facility in Hamden is not accepting any more waste, and the Old Town facility is not
licensed to accept out of state waste. Mike Triano said there is a gray area as to what
constitutes out of state waste. If it is “processed” after arriving in the state, which no one really
knows what that means, then it can be considered in state waste and he doesn’t want any part of
Randy said that what he thinks that the applicant is talking about is regular MSW (household)
waste and DEP requires a 250 foot set back from the waste handling area to the property line,
and a 500 foot set back from a residential area and this site is only 470 + feet wide, so there isn’t
even enough land to pass that first requirement right now on the DEP application for even
handling MSW at that site the way it is showing on the map. Randy explains that there are two
provisions to get waivers from that setback requirement. One is that you get waivers from
abutters and they sign off saying that they don’t care about that, and the second is that the
DEP, after reviewing it and determining where it is, they deem it to be appropriate to be a waste
Randy also points out that there are also other set backs that would be required. Some of those
are: 100 feet from a road , 500 feet from a residence and 100 feet from a protected natural
resource. Keith asks if there are waivers for any of those setbacks? Randy said he wasn’t sure
Chip asks Randy’s suggestions regarding getting a letter of credit or bonding insurance to make
sure that if this business goes belly up, how would the board make sure that there is money
enough to clean up the area and return it to it’s previous state? Randy said that he would refer
the board to their attorney or finance director on this matter, but he wanted to let the board
know that DEP will look into his finances and require the applicant to have a financial capacity
to sustain this kind of a project also.
The board briefly discussed a packet presented to them by Pam McAlinden for review regarding
alleged financial judgments against the applicant. A workshop for the Hannon project is
scheduled for Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. at the Acton Town Office.
Tom Cashin makes a motion that the applicant must set up an escrow account with
the Town on or before the next planning board meeting or the process halts until
one is set up. Keith seconds. All in favor. Pass 4 - 0
Randy Tome wanted to clarify his position on the issue of MSW/CEE and said he feels that this
building is cramped with one or the other and to get both coming in would be difficult, so he
doesn’t know if the applicant has a plan for one coming one week and the other the next week.
To have them coming in simultaneously and sort them and keep them separate would be a
concern of his. Keith asks Randy to add a list of concerns he has to the list he is submitting for
the applicant. Randy said he likes to put together a draft and send it to someone here to review
and comment on before he submits a final. Chip said it isn’t necessary for the formality and to
just send a letter. Randy agrees.
2. Presentation for a second amendment for Sebago Technics by Shawn Frank. Shawn gives
the board a new copy of the map that shows the test pit on it. Chip says that what they want to
do tonight is see if they have a completed plan of submission. The board reviews the new map
and goes over with Shawn the list of requirements needed to find this application complete.
The list is as follows for the final plans:
-a statement that all storm water structures have been installed
-a resubmission of the road plans as part of the final package
-a statement of the national plume associated with the nitrates
-regard lot 14, once approved, as a single family lot. No further subdivision may occur
without further review and approval from the Acton Planning Board
-depict a typical building envelope on lot 14
-check on historic and natural areas
-storm water areas depicted on final map
-change language to say “no historicals” instead of N/A
-installation of a residential fire sprinkler system per Acton Fire Department code
Yoli makes a motion to waive the high intensity soil survey. Keith seconds. All in
favor. Passed 4-0
Tom makes a motion to waive the traffic study. Jim seconds.
Discussion: Yoli asks if there are still a lot of concerns regarding the site distance? Shawn
points out that the typical single family home, not age restricted, generates ten trips per day.
Yoli said she remembers the board discussing that if this develops any further it would be
addressed. Chip asks the board if they want to explore that now or do they want to wait until an
expansion is applied for? The board decides to wait until any further expansion is applied for.
All in favor. Passed 4-0
Keith makes a motion to accept the Preliminary Plan Application as complete. Tom
seconds. All in favor. Passed 4-0
Yoli makes a motion to hold a public hearing for Eagles Trace subdivision. Tom
Discussion: Keith said he thinks it is probably not necessary for a single family, but he thinks it
is a good idea to stay consistent and have one.
All in favor. Passed 4-0
A public hearing is scheduled for Eagles Trace subdivision on Thursday, February 22, 2008 at
Regarding perspective new members, Tom asks what the status is on Randy staying on the
planning board? Chip says he spoke to Randy and said he is working on resolving his work
conflict. The board decides to give Randy two more meetings to resolve his work conflict before
they will recommend that he be replaced as a board member. All in agreement.
Tom said he spoke with Larissa Crockett regarding her desire to be on the planning board as an
alternate and he thinks that it would be a good idea to recommend her to the selectmen for an
appointment. Chip said he spoke with Arthur Kelly, who was on the Sanford planning board for
two years in the past, and he feels he would be a better choice. Chip said he has a problem with
Larissa Crockett being on the board right now, especially with the Hannon application in front
of the board, because with everything that has happened so far, she has been a very outspoken
advocate against the project and she may try to bring up things that may stall it. To turn
around and say you can be completely unbiased and fair on this project all of a sudden, and the
board has to realize that they are not an advocate group and is obligated to look at every
application, whether they agree with it or not, and be fair right down the middle and said he
doesn’t think the appointment would stand up. Chip said he also doesn’t feel that it would be
fair to Larissa to say that you now have to turn around and be fair right down the line. Tom
said he reviewed two meeting minutes where an exchange took place regarding Larissa Crockett,
and reads from the meeting minutes of November 1, 2007. Tom doesn’t think her record shows
a bias at all. Tom said he didn’t know Larissa before this process began and he feels after
talking with her privately that she is articulate and asks good questions, which is important for a
Larissa Crockett comments that she didn’t just start attending the meetings after the Hannon
application came in, but was active before that time, and she felt she could remain unbiased on
this application as well as any others.
Tom makes a motion to recommend both Larissa Crockett and Arthur Kelly’s
names to the board of Selectmen for consideration as new Planning Board
members to fill the one vacant spot that is available right now. Jim seconds.
Discussion: Yoli asks Chip how things were left with Randy? Chip said Randy is trying to work
out a conflict with his place of employment, and points out that the board has not done anything
substantial yet with the Hannon application. He feels that Randy can still take part in this
application process without being behind on anything. All in favor. Passed 4-0
Keith makes a motion to accept the meeting minutes of January 3, 2008. Jim
seconds. All in favor. Passed 4-0
Keith makes a motion to accept the meeting minutes of January 17, 2008. Jim
seconds. All in favor. Passed 4-0
Motion made by Jim to adjourn the meeting. Second by Yoli. All in favor.
Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.