LINCOLN — The Lincoln Appeals Board denied the Friends of Lincoln Lakes its due process rights when it re-jected hearing the group’s appeal last month of the proposed $130 million Rollins Mountain wind farm, the group’s attorney says.
Filed in Bangor Superior Court on Friday, the Friends’ action is one of the first to challenge an industrial wind project’s permit application in a Maine civil court, although the appeal, attorney Lynne Williams said, specifically targets the board’s rejecting the group’s identity on a technicality.
In its first hearing since 2005, the board voted 4-2 that the Friends had no right to appeal town Planning Board’s Dec. 1 decision approving the wind project because the group was legally incorporated Dec. 31 but filed its appeal Dec. 15.
Under Section B, No. 7 of the board’s General Conduct regulations, the appeals board “decides whether the appli-cant has a right to appear before the Board,” the regulation states. With the group’s identity in question, the board majority felt it had to reject hearing the group’s complaint, board Chairman Alan Grant has said.
“This standard is vague, and gives no notice to an appellant of how the Board will make that decision. Since this Board rarely meets, there was no evidence from other appeals about what information appellants would be required to produce,” Williams wrote in her four-page appeal. “With no articulated standards, the Board was free to make a decision that in the final analysis was arbitrary and capricious.”
Grant disagreed with Williams’ interpretation.
“The board feels very comfortable in its decision and we will await the appeal and its results,” he said Tuesday.