DRESDEN — The Appeals Board will continue its work to determine whether town officials erred in issuing a stop work order last summer to the owner of a Dresden gravel pit.

In a hearing Tuesday that was punctuated by procedural questions and an executive session to confer with the town’s attorney, board members started to evaluate the information that was provided when the board last met a month ago. They will continue their work at another meeting, which has not yet been scheduled.

Heather Beasley, the owner of the Ballard-Milligan Gravel Corp., is appealing the town’s stop work order on three grounds — that her gravel pit is not subject to the town’s Land Use and Planning Ordinance because operations at the pit predate it, that the setbacks from a road or right-of-way don’t apply because they don’t exist, and that Dresden’s code enforcement office and selectmen improperly rejected the remediation plan that was submitted in response to a notice of violation issued in May.

A fourth issue — that the ordinance was not valid because no records existed to prove it was properly enacted — was raised when the board met in December, but was set aside Tuesday because those records were found in the town’s vault.

James Valley, Dresden’s code enforcement officer, issued the notice of violation when he observed that one section of the gravel pit was about 20 feet from the property line.

On Tuesday, Steven Collemer, chairman of the Board of Appeals, said the board’s goal was to start to develop the findings of fact in the case by reviewing each of the elements in the appeal.

“A salient point from the ordinance, and it’s important for us to keep this in mind, is that the burden of proof is on Heather and Ed,” Collamer said, referring to Beasley, and her attorney Ed Dardis.

Two issues arose Tuesday that halted considerations briefly.

Attorney Edward Dardis and Heather Beasley on Wednesday in his office in Damariscotta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

Dardis objected to Jay Robbins, who has researched the history of Ballard Road for the town, being allowed to offer that information Tuesday night. Dardis said that should have happened at the December meeting, when other evidence and testimony was given.

Board members met briefly in executive session with Jessica Avery, the town attorney, to consider whether they could take more evidence.

“What we’d like to do for the remainder of this meeting is to continue the development of the findings of fact,” Collemer said to Dardis. “You are suggesting that we don’t hear any new input from Mr. Robbins, but ironically, one of the areas where I feel like we haven’t gotten enough information from you is regarding Ballard Road.”

Robbins added no information, but Collemer said Beasley and Dardis may end up going to Robbins because the board will need information to show that Ballard Road is not a public right of way.

Dardis also questioned whether Appeals Board member Jon Madore could take part in deliberations and in Tuesday’s discussions because he didn’t attend the December public hearing when the evidence in the case was initially presented.

Madore did not take part.

Jack Shaw, who owns the gravel pit next to Beasley’s, repeated his concern about the state of Ballard Road, and the gravel operations in that pit that prevent him from reaching the back part of his own pit.

“I would like to read where it’s grandfathered to dig out the town road. Where is it stated that it’s grandfathered to dig within 20 feet or less?” Shaw said. “I am getting quite frustrated here because of this foolishness. What I want to know is when we’re going to get started with this because I can’t get to the back of my property.”

Dardis said grandfathering isn’t a document; it’s a status of the land.

When the board meets again, members will continue to develop their findings of fact on the remediation plan that Beasley and Dardis said was properly submitted but that town officials did not accept.

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