By a one-vote margin, Dresden voters agreed to a temporary ban on new gravel pits in town, following a successful challenge of the Planning Board’s decision to allow MTN Sand & Gravel to open a quarry pit on Middle Road at the location shown here. Gravel pit owner Heather Beasley sought a recount, but the petition she submitted fell short of the required number of signatures. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file photo

DRESDEN — Attempts to gather enough signatures to compel a recount in the vote tally on Dresden’s quarry moratorium ordinance has fallen short of meeting the requirement.

On Tuesday, Heather Beasley, a Dresden resident and owner of a gravel pit, submitted a petition to the town office with 119 signatures, hoping to challenge the result of the municipal vote.

Heather Beasley, president of the Ballard-Milligan Gravel Corp., submitted a petition to Dresden town officials this week seeking a recount in the temporary ban on mineral extraction that voters approved by a one-vote margin at the town’s municipal election earlier this month. Town officials say the number of verified signatures submitted fell short of the requirement.  Jessica Lowell/Kennebec Journal file photo

Voters approved the temporary ban by a one-vote margin at the town’s municipal election earlier this month.

The Moratorium Ordinance Regarding Mineral Extraction Facilities and Operations passed 241 to 240 in the June 11 referendum. The ordinance limits expansion of mining and quarrying and halts any new gravel or quarry pit applications for 180 days so the town can create a new ordinance to manage quarrying and gravel pits.

Nicole Rogers, Dresden’s town administrator, said 16 signatures were from residents who are not registered to vote; one signature was a duplicate; and two signatures were ineligible because neither Rogers nor the deputy town clerk could make out a name or address.

Beasley argues the town should have done a recount automatically.


“This is my business, my livelihood, I’m the fourth generation of women that has owned this gravel pit,” she said. “This has been our business since 1915.”

The issue of mineral extraction has generated controversy in Dresden, following a decision by the Planning Board to allow MTN Sand & Gravel to start a new quarrying operation in an area zoned rural residental. Mike and Barbara Fraumeni appealed the board’s decision to Dresden’s Board of Appeals and prevailed earlier this year.

Most residents in town agree that the quarry ordinance needs some updating.

Under state law, a resident has five business days to challenge the result of an election and collect signatures for a recount.

Beasley said the timeframe after the election was confusing because the Dresden town office is closed on Monday and she questioned if it is still counted as a business day, but Rogers said it does. Beasley plans to go to the town office Tuesday to check on the validation of the signatures.

Beasley said she will continue to fight the moratorium, as she believes it should not stop her business or the other sand and gravel pit businesses in Dresden that have operated for generations.

Under the six-month moratorium, sand and gravel pits are prohibited from expanding by more than an acre of surface area. Beasley said that could happen at her gravel pit within weeks, or by the end of the season, which runs from May to October or November.

She said she has not received guidance from town officials on how to move forward with her business operations under the moratorium.

“You can’t shut people down because you don’t like their business, that’s my income and that’s how I feed myself,” said Beasley. “So we question the validity because we have been operational for years.”

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