Benefit of the doubt

To the Editor:

We would like to comment on three separate issues related to the Mount Desert Planning Board meeting last Tuesday evening, Sept. 16, which culminated in the board’s decision to accept Mr. MacQuinn’s claim that his quarry should indeed be grandfathered.

First of all, although Mr. MacQuinn failed to provide adequate documentation that would support his “grandfather” claim, the Planning Board made the decision to “give them the benefit of the doubt” as was reportedly voiced by at least two members of the Board. Our question is this: Why is OUR town planning board choosing to give more consideration to a group of non-residents of our town than it is giving its own residents? Why do these non-residents get the “benefit of the doubt” over us, the residents of the town whom they represent? Especially in view of the fact that barely a year ago, the residents of the Town of Mount Desert made it abundantly clear that quarrying would no longer be a permitted activity in the town, except for the existing (i.e., grandfathered) activities. You would think that such a decision by all residents would signal to the board that they should be extremely cautious in choosing to support an inadequately documented grandfathering claim.

Second, at no time during the past two meetings dealing with the grandfathering aspect of Mr. MacQuinn’s claim, were residents who are directly affected by the recent activities in his quarry permitted to speak at all. Mr. Bearor, lawyer for MacQuinn, spoke ad infinitum to the board; however, as he addressed them in “lawyerese” in a rapid quiet voice facing the Board, no one in the “audience” was able to comprehend most of what he said. Mr. Pileggi, lawyer for the two residents most affected by the renewed and escalated quarrying activities, was more considerate, speaking in plain english, loudly enough for everyone to hear, and for a much shorter time. Mr. Collier, attorney for the Town of Mount Desert, whom one would think would be representing the interests of the residents of our town, seemed to be arguing, loudly and copiously, for Mr. MacQuinn’s claim!

Finally, Mr Collier made no bones about the fact that Mr. MacQuinn’s father and his father were good friends, and Mr. Collier seemed to be extremely supportive of Mr. MacQuinn’s claim. Does it not seem that there is a conflict of interest here? And does it not seem that Mr. Collier should have removed himself from this controversy? This seems like an especially appropriate question since at the same time, he seemed to act with disrespect towards some members of the public attending the meeting.

We end with a question to the Planning Board: Why DID you choose to give this “benefit of the doubt” to Mr. MacQuinn over us, the residents of the town whom you represent? Are you concerned about being sued? Or are you afraid of being haunted by the ghosts of now-dead stone workers? Why?

Chris and C.H. Breedlove

Hall Quarry