Auburn water officials consulting with attorneys next Lewiston ‘demand’ letters

LEWISTON — Auburn water officers mentioned they are consulting with legal counsel in response to previous month’s letters from the metropolis of Lewiston demanding even more constraints on progress and other protections at Lake Auburn.

In official responses to Lewiston administration, the Auburn Water District board of trustees and Lake Auburn Watershed Defense Fee acknowledged receipt of the requests and reported they are consulting with legal counsel. But, neither board responded immediately to the particular requests outlined by Lewiston officers pertaining to water high-quality considerations.

The letters sent March 31 questioned the Auburn H2o District to “exercise its authority” to “institute a moratorium to prohibit all advancement, such as more housing and other associated developments in the watershed right until a comprehensive and detailed study of the results of development in the watershed is completed,” as properly as a perseverance from state officials more than irrespective of whether progress would impression the waiver from filtration the two towns share.

The two metropolitan areas have lengthy talked about the danger of losing a filtration waiver, which enables the district to deal with h2o with no building a highly-priced filtration plant.

Lewiston’s conclusion stemmed from considerations above initiatives in Auburn to update septic style standards in the watershed, as very well as a past conclusion to rezone land along the lake that Auburn officers contend is not aspect of the watershed.

Even though Lewiston has argued the adjustments could guide to new advancement that could threaten the water good quality of the lake, Auburn has responded that the proposed alterations ended up all recommended in a new analyze of the lake.

In an first reaction to the letter on April 21, Steve Milks, president of the Auburn Water District board of trustees, explained simply, “The Auburn H2o District board of trustees have retained counsel to tackle this make a difference.”


Following a abide by-up electronic mail from Lewiston administration trying to get clarification and approximate timeline for a reaction, Milks despatched a prolonged reply. Milks urged Lewiston officials to enjoy trustees meetings relating to board members’ positions on lake security, and to direct any more queries to the board’s legal counsel.

“The AWD trustees are a group of focused volunteers. We have family members and lives,” he claimed. “We are carrying out our responsibilities as trustees professionally and according to the bylaws of AWD and the bylaws for the defense of Lake Auburn. I stand by the function of the trustees and personnel of AWD.”

Milks, who is also an Auburn city councilor, extra, “For all other issues, we approach to conduct enterprise as normal listed here in Auburn.”

The day just after the response was despatched, Lewiston officials termed a distinctive meeting for Tuesday, April 26. The only merchandise on the agenda is an govt session pertaining to a lawful make a difference.

On Monday, Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline explained he was “troubled” by Milks’ reaction.

“I basically simply cannot comprehend why Auburn continues to put the lake at chance,” he stated. “Residents and businesses on either side of the river simply cannot afford water fees that could double or triple.”


Milks did not quickly respond to questions Monday.

Past 7 days, the Auburn council signaled its support for the proposed improvements to septic style criteria in the watershed, with several, which include Milks, arguing that the recent standard is not up to par.

Even though the update is anticipated to enable some amount of new progress, metropolis team thinks the new standard will build a “net benefit” to the lake by demanding better carrying out septic programs, and officials are looking to increase that requirement to present house entrepreneurs. In reaction to development fears, the modify is also expected to be paired with a alter in housing density to a person device for each three acres. The council is predicted to vote on a initially reading through May perhaps 2.

The response from the Lake Auburn Watershed Defense Commission, dated April 18, said, “LAWPC Commissioners will seek out legal counsel to clarify their legal rights and tasks as outlined in the Interlocal Arrangement. Further more, the commissioners of LAWPC will establish all subsequent steps with regard to your Letter of Desire soon after they have had the possibility to discuss the Letter of Desire with authorized counsel.”

The larger sized back and forth about how Lake Auburn is ruled has highlighted friction amongst officers in both equally cities, together with each mayors. It has also led to some modern turnover on the LAWPC board.

Not long following the “demand” letters have been sent, three associates of the LAWPC board resigned, like previous Chairman Steve French. Also resigning ended up Sid Hazelton, Auburn Drinking water District superintendent, and Kevin Gagne, Lewiston H2o & Sewer superintendent, who served as co-clerks of the board.


French did not reply to inquiries more than his causes for resigning. Lewiston Metropolis Administrator Heather Hunter mentioned since Lewiston’s Public Works director also serves on the board, “the alter delivers improved division of capability without having possible conflicts.”

Auburn resident Evan Cyr, who also serves on the Auburn Planning Board, was named interim chairman.

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