UNITY — Two women who unsuccessfully appealed the relocation of a Dunkin’ franchise in downtown Unity have said they do not plan to bring the matter to court.

Attorney Peter Drum confirmed in an email to the Morning Sentinel Tuesday afternoon that his clients, Kristin Mozes and Elizabeth Dyer, chose not to pursue a case regarding the Unity Planning Board of Appeals’ unanimous decision three weeks ago to deny the appeal.

When contacted by the Morning Sentinel for a comment, Mozes provided a lengthy email statement, saying in part, “the town of Unity was far more interested in catering to the Dunkin’ than it was in preserving the laws passed by its own citizens.”

Mozes described experiencing “a series of harassments” from town officials and their friends. She referenced instances on social media and other electronic communications as well as “blatantly false accusations” made about her family which resulted in notices banning engagement with the town office and charges.

“It is because of these disturbing tactics that my family has decided to end our appeal now and move on to a friendlier town. Unity has shown us that because we disagreed with the decision to build a Dunkin’ next to our home, we are no longer welcome,” Mozes said. “I no longer feel safe walking down the street, engaging with the public, or raising my children here. The Dunkin’ being built has little to do with our decision to end the appeal and to move elsewhere. We loved this home, and we were preparing to purchase it when all of this started. I am glad that we were able to see the true colors of those who run Unity before that plan became permanent.”

The Waldo County Sheriff’s Department confirmed law enforcement harassment notices had been issued against Mozes and her husband, Steven Mozes, by the town of Unity.

Unity Board of Selectmen Chair Penny Picard Sampson, whom Mozes accused of calling the police on her, said she called the police on Steven Mozes on Oct. 14.

The Unity Planning Board of Appeals took 3 minutes to vote unanimously on Nov. 16, 2020, to send an appeal against siting a Dunkin’ store in downtown Unity back to the Planning Board. The meeting took place at the Unity Community Center. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file Buy this Photo

Town Clerk Kari Hunt was preparing for the Nov. 3, 2020, election when the Mozeses brought in a handful of Freedom of Access Act requests. That Monday was the Indigenous Peoples holiday. Sampson said she and Hunt worked for two hours on Tuesday to get the information.

Steven Mozes came in on Wednesday to go over the paperwork, Sampson said. Hunt was looking for clarification on the “unratified ordinances.” Sampson said Mozes was “belligerent” in his actions.

When Steven Mozes came in on Wednesday, not all of the information requested, such as unratified ordinances used by the Board of Selectmen, was available.

“We can’t give them something that doesn’t exist,” Sampson said.

“I had enough of Steve at that point, so I dialed the nonemergency number to the sheriff’s department,” Sampson said. Mozes recorded the incident on his phone, Sampson said.

“That was the only time I’ve ever called the police on them, because he was being disorderly in the office,” Sampson said.

The no-contact order was implemented on the advice of town attorney Kristin Collins.

“I haven’t called the police multiple times,” Sampson said. “Well, multiple if it’s two.”

Sampson said Kristin Mozes filed a formal complaint with the Maine Attorney General the day after the final request was sent.

Unity’s current Dunkin’ location is housed at the Depot Country Store on Depot Road. The proposed plan gives Dunkin’ a 2,064-square-foot standalone location at 170 Main St. with a two-lane drive-thru and 18 parking spots.

Mozes, a resident of Vickery Lane, and Dyer, her landlord, originally appealed over their belief that the proposal violated the town’s land-use ordinance. The entrance to the Dunkin’ is off Vickery Lane, where Dyer’s property is a direct abutter.

After the matter was remanded to the Planning Board by the Planning Board of Appeals Nov. 16, a finding of fact conducted by the Unity Planning Board found the project met all requirements and permitting laws. The Planning Board of Appeals then approved those findings.

The Dunkin’ franchisee, Colleen Bailey, a Norridgewock resident, owns nine franchises with her husband, Ed. Bailey anticipates breaking ground in the spring. They have to tear down the building on the land before putting up the new one. She said the goal of the franchise is to give back to the community, not take away from it.

“Of course I’m excited about the fact that we can continue to pursue it, and I know the town is excited to have us,” Bailey said. “We’re going to continue as planned and make sure Dunkin’ can keep people running in Unity.”

The current Unity Dunkin’ employs 10, and Bailey anticipates doubling the staff. Bailey has approval from Dunkin’ to fit the design of the store to the town’s land-use ordinance. They were not losing their lease, but opted for the standalone building to have their own space and control of their hours.

“It’s going to be more expensive, but hopefully more business and an asset to the community,” Bailey said. “We’ll have more control over our business.”

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