News Flash from Maine: Town of Fryeburg Loses Right to Local Zoning Control to… Nestle/Poland Springs

I just got off the phone with a resident of Fryeburg – the town that’s been under legal assault by Nestle/Poland Spring for the last six years. The news isn’t good.

After a lawsuit and four appeals, Nestle’s legions of legal talent finally succeeded in overturning the citizen appeal of the town’s original planning commission permit (written largely by a lobbyist for the trucking industry who later recused himself from the board and was caught passing information to Nestle via email).

You can download a .pdf file of the court’s decision here (look for the Nestle vs Fryeburg cast in mid-page).

I can’t tell you if this is the end of the road for Fryeburg’s citizen partisans, but I can tell you that where Nestle Waters goes, local control of water, roads and zoning seemingly disappears. More to come.

12 thoughts on “News Flash from Maine: Town of Fryeburg Loses Right to Local Zoning Control to… Nestle/Poland Springs

  1. Hoorah! A victory for Maine and the Town of Fryeburg. Only a small number of people are against Poland Spring because of personal agendas. The rest of us love this 160 year old Maine company.

  2. The “only a small number” is seemingly applied everywhere Nestle wants to marginalize opposition. In Shapleigh, that “small number” (as characterized by Nestle) overwhelmingly passed a water extraction ordinance by an overwhelming margin.

    Does it bother you at all that Nestle just turned your zoning process upside down? As an FYI: Poland Spring ceased to exist two decades ago, and is now simply an extension of the world’s largest – and most boycotted – food & beverage company.

    Believe what you will, but as someone who’s seen Nestle’s dirty tricks and legal bullying in other rural areas, I’m pretty sure this will turn out badly for Fryeburg, where you’ll enjoy the truck traffic, but little else.

  3. If the planning board truly listened to the people in this decision, the decision would have been simple, a large scale trucking facility is not to be located in a rural residential area.

  4. Fryeburg Resident:
    Could you please tell me the benefits to Fryeburg for the location of a large scale trucking facility in a residential area? To me, 35,000 truck trips a day are not worth the minimal amount of tax revenue the town will gain. Most of the land is to be in tree growth, per Nestle’s words. Could you please share the benefit of this operation? Or maybe what you think these individuals have as their personal agenda? Or maybe, quality of life and preservation of home values are not of importance to you?

  5. Okey, I was wrong.. It’s 35,000 trips a year based on the amount permitted in the 2005 decision.

    Still, that’s a hell of a lot of trucks!

  6. Just another example of Nestles bullying tactics.
    So sorry for the people and their water in Fryeburg.
    Do the citizens really have a voice if local zoning decisions are overruled like this? Tis a sad day for democracy.
    Whatever happened to “we the people”

  7. If anybody doubted the extent of ‘corporate control’ over our government, this should serve as proof positive. The residents of Fryeburg contested Nestle’s position by a majority vote, so how does that constitute ‘a small number’? Once again we see the fear of democratic rule by those now in power. A government of, by and for the corporations is fascist in nature, not democratic.

  8. This is a sad time for the Lakes Region area. We soon will have Nestle pumping water from our aquifer from 2 locations (that I know of). It’s time for us to unite and form a group that watches over the entire aquifer.
    The people that claim we are only a small group, ignore that both Fryeburg and Denmark have had majority votes and petitions signed against Nestle and mass water extraction.

    Why would a person support a company that pumps millions of gallons from our precious aquafir and routes thousands of trucks ruining our roads and making them more dangerous. Low Impact? Right!
    This is proof that our state government has a “special” relationship with Poland Springs/Nestle. And the people that support Nestle either don’t care or are hoping that if they hold they hand out that Nestle might throw some money their way.

    I doubt that this fight is over.
    Denmark Maine

  9. Here’s a link to a story the local CBS affiliate did last night. It’s about the abutting neighbor, an elderly gentleman who owns a tree farm and moved there for the peace and quiet of the rural residential neighborhood that is 80% of Fryeburg!

    I guess anyone in any rural residential district of Fryeburg is not entitled to “quality of life” since that is not explicitly noted in the town’s land use ordinance.

  10. Where Nestle goes, citizen rights disappear. In Fryeburg, it’s about local control of zoning. In Michigan – after Nestle lost two court cases over the watershed damage they were causing – they changed tactics and sought to remove the rights of citizens groups to bring environmental suits in the first place.

    This is what happens.

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