DRESDEN – A Dresden couple whose property borders a proposed quarry says the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and local Planning Board wrongly greenlit the project after its operators failed to notify neighbors of their plans.

Now, residents have submitted a petition calling for a moratorium on quarrying and mining in the town. 

The moratorium would pause such operations for 180 days, while Barbara and Mike Fraumeni take their case to the Lincoln County Superior Court.

The Fraumenis allege the DEP granted a performance standards license to Richmond-based MTN Sand & Gravel, allowing it to operate a 50-acre quarry on Middle Road in Dresden, without verifying the company had accurately completed its application, according to an appeal filed at the courthouse in Wiscasset earlier this month.

The couple says MTN Sand & Gravel did not send abutters notices that it intends to comply with state quarrying and environmental regulations, which is required in order to receive a license. Such notices include site plans and basic information about the company and must also be sent to the municipality and the DEP. The Maine Historic Preservation Commission, the final entity that must be alerted to the plans, also did not receive the notice, a spokesperson from the organization said.

Records obtained by the Kennebec Journal from the DEP show MTN Sand & Gravel said it sent notices to the required parties on April 5, 2023. The DEP confirmed the application was complete and issued a license on June 29.


Assistant Attorney General Peggy Bensinger, who is representing the DEP in the case, said there are no legal or procedural steps the agency has to take in order to confirm notices were sent to the required parties before deeming an application complete and granting a license.

“It’s up to the proposed quarry’s developer to notify the abutters,” Bensinger said in an interview with the newspaper. “That is their responsibility and because (MTN Sand & Gravel) didn’t do it, it’s one of the reasons (the Fraumenis) appealed to the court.”

The couple said if they had received the correct documentation, they would have shared concerns about the quarry being constructed in the rural living district of town and the possibility that the project could damage the habitat of the endangered Atlantic salmon, according to the lawsuit.

They also would have aired concerns about “the increased industrial use in close proximity to their residence, the consequence of harm to their quiet use and enjoyment of property and the detrimental impacts to their aesthetic and environmental interests.” 

Instead, the Fraumenis said they did not find out the project was moving forward until Oct. 30, when they saw a conditional use permit application for the quarry on a public notice for an upcoming Dresden Planning Board meeting.

The board reviewed the company’s conditional use permit application on Nov. 8 and held a public hearing on Dec. 13 before unanimously voting on Jan. 13 to authorize the quarry.


That vote took place days after MTN Sand & Gravel voluntarily surrendered its license to operate, on Jan. 8, as a result of the Fraumenis’ Superior Court appeal, which was filed Jan. 3.

“The Planning Board knew that the permit was not valid at that time,” Barbara Fraumeni told the Kennebec Journal. “It was announced by our lawyer at the meeting, and there were multiple letters testifying to this. … Both of (MTN Sand & Gravel’s) lawyers acknowledged surrendering the permit, and (a DEP official) acknowledged the surrendering in a letter, as well as our lawyer.”

David Madore, the spokesperson for the DEP, said MTN Sand & Gravel has not yet re-applied for a new performance standards license, and Bensinger, the assistant attorney general, said the company can try again if it wants.

MTN Sand & Gravel, which is owned by Nathan Tribbet of Richmond, did not respond to requests for comment.

While the Fraumenis continue to fight the matter in court, the citizen’s petition for a moratorium on quarrying will likely be discussed at Tuesday’s select board meeting. Peter Walsh, who started the petition, submitted enough signatures to the town, equivalent to 10% of the number of townspeople who voted in the last gubernatorial race.

If his petition is certified by town office staff, selectmen will then have seven days to call for a special Town Meeting to vote on the matter.

While Walsh does not live near the site of the proposed quarry, he agrees that the town needs more answers on its residential and environmental impacts.

“Even though we aren’t next door, everyone in town is affected,” Walsh said.

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