Freeport resident sues to prevent planned road work

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FREEPORT —  Near the end of a four-hour council meeting Tuesday night, Town Manager Peter Joseph announced the town was served March 31 with a lawsuit over proposed work on South Freeport Road.

The announcement came after a brief discussion setting a retail marijuana policy. Four of seven councilors said in a straw poll they would not or could not support any of the uses under which a voter-approved referendum legalizes recreational pot: cultivation, manufacturing, retail sales and social clubs. 

However, during the meeting, the bulk of discussion – three hours –centered around beefing up the Capital Improvement Budget, after which the council voted to add $53,000 to the Department of Public Works. 

In the lawsuit, Martina M. Sullivan, a resident of South Freeport Road, seeks a preliminary injunction from Cumberland County Superior Court to stop the road work, which has not yet gone out to bid. It is scheduled to begin this summer, lay over the winter and be finished in summer 2018.

Sullivan, who has lived on the street for 19 years, is concerned about potential damage to trees along or near South Freeport Road. 

Meanwhile, town councilors continue to discuss how to enact marijuana legalization. The council is going to give the town Planning Board direction in setting a policy. The Planning Board was scheduled to discuss pot policies at its April 5 meeting. 

It is up to the council to determine if the moratorium in place since December to block implementation of the November 2016 statewide voter referendum will be lifted. Councilors could determine in a formal vote not to allow retail pot sales, social clubs, manufacturing or cultivation in Freeport.

Councilor Bill Rixon recommended putting the question of either implementing or banning the legal retail pot referendum, to residents. This would gauge public opinion on the issue of pot sales and smoking in social spots such as a bar,  in a designated part of Freeport. Route 1 and just outside of the downtown village are eyed for this area.

Rixon’s suggestion was not supported by the council, and the council remains divided on how to implement the law, or not.

Lisa D. Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183, or Follow Lisa on Twitter @connell_ld.