June 20, 2019

Thomaston to fight former manager

THOMASTON — The town will seek a preliminary court injunction today to stop a former town manager from removing a culvert that runs across his property.

William Judson of Cushing, a former town manager who still owns land on Booker Street in Thomaston, obtained a state permit to restore his property to its original condition by removing fill and part of a drainage system installed by the town.

But Thomaston will try to stop that during a hearing today in Knox County Superior Court, said Town Manager Valmore Blastow Jr. on Thursday.

Judson also filed a civil lawsuit against the town in May in Superior Court seeking more than $300,000 in damages, claiming the town spoiled his property by doing drainage work there. That issue has not yet been heard.

Judson’s application to the Department of Environmental Protection described his project as a “restoration to original condition of one free-flowing stream.”

He wrote that the stream had flowed year-round since several years before he purchased the property in 1991.

“The intended future use of the property is to replace wetlands and wild growth habitat that is rapidly disappearing in the Knox County and coastal Maine area. Most recently, the town of Thomaston constructed a sewage treatment facility in a federal deer wintering area. This project is to offset a portion of the destruction of the wetlands and wildlife habitat destroyed by the town of Thomaston,” Judson wrote.

Judson did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.

The project would entail removing roughly 900 cubic yards of fill and underground openings, according to the approved application.

The stream is in the Georges River watershed, Judson wrote.

Mike Mullen, a DEP environmental specialist, said Thursday, “We’ve accepted it,” noting the request was approved Dec. 15.

“I want to protect the stability of the storm water system for all of Thomaston,” Blastow said.

According to Blastow, the drainage system was installed in 1982 to relieve flooding in the Georges Street area and was repaired in 1992 when he was town manager.

Judson claims there were no repairs made to the drainage system during his tenure. The system was studied but no action was taken.

In 1995, the town again repaired the southern end of the system between property owned by William Judson and Terri Judson and land owned by Lee-Ann Upham, Thomaston chairman of selectmen, and her husband, John Upham, Blastow said. But Judsonb said it was done in 1997.

Being first installed in 1982, the early culverts did not have easements, Blastow said.

William Judson alleges that the town used too much fill and needed a permit for the work, Blastow said. Judson said that more fill was put in than was allowed without a DEP permit.

Blastow claims the town did not need a permit for the 1995 work because it was an existing culvert rather than a new system.

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