Concrete plant owners seek to change conditions

ELLSWORTH — Developers of an approved concrete plant at 575 Bucksport Road will come before the Planning Board again on Jan. 5.

Hughes Bros. Inc. received approval for a major use site development in the industrial zone on Nov. 4, but conditions include Planning Board approval for the plant to operate beyond Apr. 1 to Nov. 30.

“The Planning Board didn’t talk to us about it, they just placed it without any discussion,” Hughes Bros. Treasurer and Environmental Manager Janet Hughes told The American.

She returns to the board seeking an amendment that would allow the plant to operate year-round and to remove a second condition that requires Planning Board approval for erecting a 1,500-square-foot structure for winter work.
At the Nov. 4 meeting, Hughes had told the board that the company’s goal was to operate the plant year-round and, when that plan moves forward, a structure for storing material would be added to the site.

Restricting the months of operation “doesn’t allow us to work,” she said. “Even though the plant might only manufacture concrete during those months [April-November], we still need the ability, if we have an early spring, to start early. Or a late fall, like this year in December, to be able to run longer.”

The company has not begun site work, she said, because with the condition in place, the company won’t be able to operate.

“That is our issue,” she said.

Hughes Bros. initially appealed the Planning Board decision. But, after Hughes spoke with Bangor attorney Ed Bearor, the company withdrew its appeal to instead ask for amendments to the original approval.

Bearor said he’d spoken with City Planner Elena Piekut.

“It became apparent there were issues surrounding the appeal, which made it better for Hughes Bros. to withdraw the appeal and return to the Planning Board,” he said.

Bearor, of Rudman Winchell, is Hughes Bros.’ attorney and coincidentally also represents the city of Ellsworth. He had no knowledge of the proposal, he noted, before taking Piekut’s call and advised her he was Hughes Bros.’ attorney. He spoke with Hughes afterward.

Piekut said the Planning Board will decide whether the condition(s) are necessary “to ensure standards and criteria are met.”

“Really, the outcome will be determined by the case the applicant makes and the questions/discussion that unfold,” she noted.

Hughes Bros. proposed the plant — on a 9-acre site inside 95 acres owned by McMullen Landscape — to have a facility closer to its Hancock County service area. A Dedham rock quarry the company operates will supply the aggregate materials needed to manufacture ready-mix concrete in Ellsworth.

The Planning Board meets at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5, in council chambers.

Anne Berleant

Anne Berleant

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Anne Berleant covers news and features in Ellsworth, Mariaville, Otis, Amherst, Aurora, Great Pond and Osborn. When not reporting, find her hiking local trails, reading or watching professional tennis. Email her at [email protected]
Anne Berleant

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