Posted by: Patricia Salkin | June 26, 2014

Maine Supreme Court Rules That City Did Not Transfer Its Authority Through Consent Decree and There was No Contract Zoning

The City of Westbrook (“City”) appealed the Superior Court’s judgment, upholding a consent decree that was entered between the City and Pike Industries (“Pike”) on May 20, 2013. Pike owned the Spring Street property since 2005 and it is used to “operate a quarry, a rock crushing plant, a concrete plant, and an asphalt plant on the property.” Two local businesses, Artel, Inc., IDEXX Laboratories and Smiling Hill, challenged Pikes standing to operate a quarry. Smiling Hill argued before the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine that the consent decree limits the City’s power to enforce the local ordinances, and that the decree creates an illegal contract zone. Pike contended that they had been grandfathered into the previous regulations in the zoning district, and therefore, is entitled to use the property as a quarry.

The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine affirmed the Superior Court’s decision that the City was not transferring its authority as a result of the consent decree and that an illegal contract zone had not been established. The court reasoned “Smiling Hill’s concerns that Pike could attempt to use the Decree as a ‘shield’ against enforcement in the future cannot materialize because the Decree does not and cannot provide the means for Pike to do so.” Pike could only enforce the grandfathered rights. Additionally, an illegal contract zone had not been created because the parties followed the courts instructions and complied with the zoning practices. Further, the Supreme Judicial Court noted that there had been no change to “the permitted use standards for the entire zoning district where Pikes quarrying operations are located….”

Pike Industries, Inc. v. City of Westbrook, 2014 WL 2885395 (ME 6/24/2014)

The opinion can be accessed at:

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