Abutters file appeal on Bridgton Bottled Gas plans

 

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Raspberry Lane residents Robert and Rita Tyska filed an administrative appeal Dec. 1 of the Bridgton Planning Board’s decision to approve plans submitted by Bridgton Bottled Gas for a 30,000-gallon propane tank at the end of their road off Route 302.

The appeal, which will deal only with narrow legal issues with regard to the propriety of the planning board’s review process, will be heard by the Bridgton Board of Appeals next Thursday, Dec. 17, at 7:15 p.m.

The Tyskas are citing many of the same objections in their appeal that they and other Raspberry Lane residents already said during hearings held prior to the planning board’s Nov. 3 final approval. However, they state in their cover letter to the appeals board that the planning board made “many legal errors, both procedural and substantive, that should rightfully cause this decision to be overturned.”

They also said they wanted to advise the appeals board that Bridgton Bottled Gas “sold the subject property to a company named Stone Road Energy, LLC.” They said they have not informed Stone Road Energy about their appeal because “this new owner is not yet listed as the legal owner with the town of Bridgton assessor’s office.” They said they assume that the town will notify the new owner directly.

The Tyszkas make no mention of the ownership change in their detailed eight-page appeal. Their summary uses very strong wording in urging the appeals board to rule in their favor, stating that, “Should this decision stand, it will violate the most basic safety and property protection any resident should expect from the town. It will also contradict the very reason the site plan review ordinance and planning board were created.”

A call to the phone number for Bridgton Bottled Gas was answered with a message stating that the company had moved to 82 Main Street, and provided customers with another number to call, which led to a greeting saying the caller had reached Lampron Energy and Bridgton Bottled Gas.

The website for Stone Road Energy, based in Littleton, N.H., states in its “About Us” page the following:

“Stone Road Energy is a company that exists to grow. We love the oil and propane heating fuel business. We look to acquire companies from owners that have run a good business over the years and have decided that now is the time to leave the business. We do not remove the name or change the strong bonds these companies have with their local communities. We pride ourselves in honoring the names on our trucks and offices. We continue the traditions of exceptional customer support and add value where we can.”

Stone Road Energy lists both Bridgton Bottled Gas and Lampron’s as two of five companies it owns, and lists its owners as Steve Mesthos and John Forrest, former engineers for Mobil Oil Corporation.

As was the case when the appeals board took up the appeal of the Hio Ridge Road cell phone tower, the board is expected to be represented in person by an attorney, and comments will be limited to arguments on whether the planning board made procedural errors in its review that are substantial in nature, in other words, incorrect, based on a preponderance of the evidence.

 

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