April 09, 2020
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Rockland gives railroad final notice of violation

ROCKLAND – The city code enforcement office has issued a second and final notice of violation to Maine Eastern Railroad for alleged violations of municipal ordinances, according to Code Enforcement Officer John Root on Thursday.

The notice, written Oct. 12, gives train officials until Nov. 1 to “take immediate steps to reduce the noise and fumes to levels that are not obnoxious, annoying, unsightly, detrimental to the character of the neighborhood, or offensive to the neighborhood.”

“We have received the notice, and we are responding to it in a timely fashion,” Gordon Page Sr., director of passenger operations for MERR, said Thursday.

On Sept. 7, the first notice was delivered citing the city’s ordinance prohibiting annoying noises or odors after neighbors complained of diesel fumes, loud noises, vibration and glaring lights coming from outside the train station.

MERR officials made adjustments to outdoor lighting and repaired its shore power, which ended the temporary use of certain generators. Three-phase electrical shore power had been knocked out at one point by lightning or a power surge, officials had said.

Since then a petition signed by 80 residents has been presented to the City Council and code enforcement office seeking help in resolving the issues.

Because of neighbors’ continued concerns, Root issued the second and final notice to the railroad.

“I have personally observed the locomotive while it was at idle and have taken unofficial sound level readings,” Root wrote. “I also detected some diesel fumes as well. However, better witnesses to these offenses are nearby residents who have made it clear to the city that noise levels and fumes are unacceptable. I can only conclude that the use is prohibited [per the city ordinance].”

Should MERR fail to comply, the matter will be turned over to the city attorney for further action, which could result in fines of $100 to $2,500 a day and attorney fees.

MERR may seek a modification or withdrawal of the violation notice by application to the zoning board of appeals.


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