SIDNEY — New England construction giant Pike Industries plans to consolidate three Maine asphalt plants at its gravel operation on Lyons Road in Sidney, a move that has at least one resident concerned about a lack of town rules to regulate possible noise, odor and air pollution from the plant.

The Planning Board approved plans for the new hot mix asphalt plant in September 2014, but some residents are finding out about the plan only now.

According to minutes from an Aug. 18, 2014, Planning Board meeting, Pike representatives said the company plans to move its Westbrook asphalt operation to Sidney and close down plants in Augusta and Fairfield.

The new one-story plant has a small footprint; the total paved area will be 1.2 acres, company officials told the board.

A Pike representative did not return several calls seeking comment Wednesday and Thursday.

According to Planning Board minutes, company officials said they expect an increase of about 9,333 truckloads out of the Lyons Road plant, and trucks would reach Interstate 95 primarily via exit 120, which is next to the plant.

At the meeting, company representatives said noise and odor could increase a little, and the plant would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The company has plants in urban areas of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont that operate at night ,and noise has not increased there, they said.

According to minutes of a Planning Board meeting on Sept. 2, 2014, Vice President of Operations Jon Oakes said the plant will use newer technology that cuts down greatly on smell and noise and a offers better pollution control. Truck traffic would increase by about 30 trucks per day hauling sand into the plant, Oakes added. The operation should be online by June 2016, Oakes told the board.

The board approved the company’s application with the condition that it would revisit the plant a year after it started operations, to find out whether any residents complain.

But Peter Beckerman, a retired municipal attorney who lives on Farm Brook Road, north of Pike’s operation on Lyons Road, thinks Sidney should consider some regulations for noise, odor and air pollution the plant might emit.

The town, like many small communities, doesn’t have a lot of zoning regulations, and nothing that would cover problems the plant could create, Beckerman said.

“Sidney is not prepared for anything like that if it becomes a nuisance,” he said.

“There is certainly nothing for odor, noise or air pollution in Sidney. That’s going to be an issue with the process that they use,” he said.

Although the Planning Board approved the development more than a year ago, Beckerman said he found out about it only recently and did some research on the issue.

Westbrook, where the plant is being moved from, has vague zoning rules that apply to where the plant is now.

In an email to selectmen earlier this month, Beckerman said company officials told him Pike follows strict federal and state environmental standards. Still, he encouraged selectmen to review the plant and consider putting an ordinance draft to regulate noise, smell and air quality on the warrant for the 2016 Town Meeting.

Couture, in an interview Wednesday, said the board looked into the plant but decided not to pursue an ordinance.

“I totally understand the community asking these kind of questions,” she said. The selectmen wanted to double-check that the Planning Board will do its best to deal with potential air and noise issues, Couture added.

“All is well so far, we haven’t run into anything we would follow further,” she said.

Although the selectmen seem satisfied the plant will not have ill effects for its neighbors, Beckerman thinks it should pursue some regulations before the it starts operating, so the town and construction company won’t have to play catch-up if issues arise later.

“It’s better now for everyone to be on the same page,” Beckerman said. “In all fairness to the business, too, it could be run extremely well for noise, air and odor, but it is only fair to put ordinances in place up front.”

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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