To the Editor:
There is a procedural issue from the Planning Board meetings in July and September 2014 that I would draw to the attention of the Mount Desert Board of Selectmen before they speak with the chairman of the Planning Board in a meeting scheduled for later this month.
The meeting on July 22, 2014, was a completeness review for the Quarry License application. As such, it was not a public hearing and required no public notice. At that meeting, the board decided that quarrying needed to be a lawfully existing nonconforming use to establish the applicant’s standing.
The meeting of Sept. 16, 2014, was a continuation of the completeness hearing, and therefore there was again no public notice. But the discussion continued. A vote on the “grandfathering” ensued, at which it was decided to give the applicant “the benefit of the doubt.” The vote carried by 3 ayes to 2 abstentions.
At neither of these meetings was any member of the public allowed to speak, although issues which were very important to the public were voted upon.
Later, the board decided to allow public input at the end of each segment of the performance standards prior to any votes. They told the public that the issue of the “grandfathering” would be revisited at the end of the entire application review and that members of the public would be allowed their say prior to the final vote on the issue, and prior to the final vote.
Once that had been determined, no discussion of the issue would be allowed at other meetings.
To address this denial of the public’s right to be heard, I think it is imperative that a dedicated public hearing be held to discuss the grandfathering issue prior to the final vote. The agenda should be very well advertised so that all interested parties may participate.
Ellen T. Brawley