WINDHAM — Elvin Copp and his son Randy Copp have filed written arguments in their lawsuit over the town’s mineral extraction moratorium, and the town has four weeks to respond.
The Copps, of CSG Properties and Copp Equipment, filed a lawsuit against the town in May after the Town Council passed a 180-day mineral extraction moratorium in April.
The moratorium came after Randy Copp presented a sketch plan to the Planning Board March 26 for a 106-acre quarry off Lakeside Drive in the Forest Lake area. Residents at that meeting raised concerns about the project’s impact on quality of life, noise, traffic, safety and air and water quality, among other issues.
At the May 22 Town Council meeting, Jim Pross of Skelton, Taintor & Abbott, who is representing the Copps, called the moratorium “unlawful,” “unfair” and “discriminatory.”
“We have to protect our clients’ rights and protect them from any continuing discrimination,” he said.
The council has since extended the moratorium twice.
Stephen Langsdorf of Preti Flaherty, who represents the town, said the Copps filed their written arguments last week. The town has four weeks to file its response.
“Our argument is that until the time when an application is finally approved the town has the right to make its ordinances retroactive, and even though there’s a process that’s going on, there’s clear case law that allows the town to make changes to its standards,” Langsdorf said.
He said the Copps are arguing “that they filed an application under standards applying to mineral extraction, and during the process of review the council enacted a moratorium that they made explicitly retroactive to cover any pending application.” However, he said, the council is “well within their right to do that to protect the environment.”
Langsdorf predicted the lawsuit will take three more months to conclude.
“There is some argument to be had by the plaintiff that this had progressed along to a point where they had some expectation of it moving farther with the Planning Board, but I do believe that the law supports our position,” he said.
Pross did not respond to requests for comment.
Jane Vaughan at 780-9103 or at email@example.com.
Randy Copp addresses the Windham Town Council in April about his plans to build a quarry near Forest Lake.