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Nestlé Forces Town (and private citizens group) to Pay Exorbitant Legal Fees

Nestlés filings against the town of Fryeburg

Nestlé's filings against the town of Fryeburg

In 2003, Nestlé’s Poland Spring brand began drawing from the Ward’s Brook aquifer beneath the small town of Fryeburg. The aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for the town.

Nestlé pumps as much as 168 million gallons per year for bottling at its plant in nearby Hollis, but it’s not enough. Nestlé submitted plans to the Fryeburg planning board to build a truck filling station in East Fryeburg to the tune of 50 trucks per day (a truck every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year) on a road in a rural residential district and in a Maine Department of Transportation designated high crash location. The water would be piped underground from the nearby town of Denmark. The planning board approved the truck filling station even though it did not fit the town’s rural zoning district. It was just recently disclosed that the drafter of the approval decision was the past Executive
Director of the National Private Trucking Council. A loose knit Citizen’s group appealed the decision to the board of appeals who overturned the planning board decision.

Nestlé then took the plan to the Oxford County Superior Court who said, “The planning board needs to look at this more closely to determine if it is a low impact business.”

Nestlé then took the plan to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court who said, “Until the local planning board looks at it again, it is not ripe for us to consider.”

Then both the Fryeburg Planning Board and the Fryeburg appeals board stated this is not a low impact business (two more no’s to Nestlé).

So Nestlé appealed again to the Maine Superior court, after they decide, the last round will be back to the Maine Supreme Court system. Each time costs the citizens more legal expense.

It makes you wonder, “What doesn’t Nestlé understand about the word, “no”?

Fryeburg residents have spent the last 3 years in a complicated legal maze. They’ve spent $45,000 in legal fees raised from $50 to $100 donations from within the community, and anticipate needing another $25,000 to see the case through.

“Nestlé is prying their way in by appealing all the courts decisions. They are wearing us down both mentally and financially. We’ve spent hours of time, been accused of intimidation, being mean spirited, and called a mob and tyrants. They continue to force this square peg application into a round hole because it is the shortest route to their wells.

What a good corporate neighbor.” said Scott Gamwell.

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