Dresden is considering a temporary ban on gravel pits in town, following a successful challenge of the Planning Board’s decision to allow MTN Sand & Gravel to open a quarry pit at 778 Middle Road. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

DRESDEN — Residents who are divided on the need for a temporary ban on approving mining and quarrying in Dresden will have a final say in a secret referendum in June.

Most of the attendees at a public hearing Thursday agreed the town’s ordinance governing those activities needs work.

The public hearing entertained a citizen petition that included more than 130 signatures and called for a moratorium on the mineral extraction facility ordinance.

If residents vote June 11 in favor of the moratorium, the vote would put a stop to any newly approved mineral extraction facilities. The proposed moratorium stipulates a new ordinance should address where a quarry can operate, health and safety issues and the impact on the town.

“All this does is press the pause button so we can work together as a community and clarify the ordinance we have,” Carl Johansen said.

Two weeks ago, the Dresden Board of Appeals voted 3-1 in favor of an appeal by Barbara and Mike Fraumeni against the Planning Board. The Dresden couple argued that the Planning Board should not have approved an application for a quarry pit in the rural living section of town.


Because of the appeal, Richmond company, MTN Sand & Gravel, lost the ability to obtain a town permit to operate a quarry unless the company’s owner, Nate Tribbet, decides to appeal the town’s decision in Lincoln County Superior Court, which he has 45 days to do after the May 17 decision. Tribbet was in attendance and commented only on confusing language in the moratorium.

Heather Beasley, a gravel pit owner in town, said she is concerned the moratorium would affect her business. Several other residents expressed concern about their neighbors, including Jeff Bickford, who also is part of the appeals committee that voted against the Fraumenis’ appeal.

Dresden is already home to several gravel pits, including Beasley’s, but no quarries. Several residents have urged there be more of a distinction between the two in a new ordinance.

“Yes, I’m starring at issues in the ordinance that need to be cleared up, and I think it can be done, but stopping a business is not going to bring the tax burden down for the town,” Bickford said. “It’s not the right time. I’m against the moratorium and want the town to prosper.”

Dan Burke, one of a few people who created and circulated the petition, said the proposed moratorium is not meant to shut down any business. He said the moratorium would allow a group of residents to look at the ordinance and decide how to move forward in ways that residents want.

Burke created the petition in January with Dresden residents Peter Walsh, Deb Burke and Richard Brown.

Dresden’s municipal election is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on June 11 at Pownalborough Hall at 314 Patterson Road.

The annual town meeting is set for 6 p.m. on June 18 at Dresden Elementary School at 86 Cedar Grove Road.

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