OTISFIELD — A former plaintiff in the yearlong Scribner Hill communications tower controversy has filed a complaint, charging the town government’s misrepresentation of her jeopardizes her safety in Otisfield.

Kristen Roy, a Scribner Hill resident, filed a formal complaint with selectmen April 17, saying she was mistreated in the Town Office by staff, who alleged she was responsible for the town not having cellphone service.

Roy was a plaintiff in a longstanding battle to stop a U.S. Cellular telecommunications tower from being erected on Scribner Hill in 2012 because of what she called the town’s “lack of due process” in approving the application.

On May 23, she revised that complaint to say she did not want to single out any one person, but because of the town government’s “misrepresentation” of her, she no longer “feels safe” in town.

In response to the complaint, the Board of Selectmen has recommended voters approve an additional $10,000 in the legal fee account at the annual town meeting June 28.

Roy denies she is going to sue the town.

“We really thought we had put (the tower issue) to rest,” selectmen Chairman Hal Ferguson said.

According to the complaint, Roy said she visited the Town Office on April 3 and was accused by an unnamed woman that Roy was responsible for lack of communication during a vehicle rollover because there was no cellphone service in town.

“I believe this incident shines a light on the town’s misrepresentation of me and my position from the start of our debates,” Roy’s initial complaint said. “My opposition to the tower was about the lack of due process. I was right and justified in my outrage when I found out about the approval of the tower. Many laws were disregarded in the approval process and many more were disregarded during the appeal process by the town.”

The Planning Board approved U.S. Cellular’s application in January 2012 to construct a tower on Scribner Hill that would accommodate equipment by cellphone companies and the town Fire Department.

The Friends of Scribner Hill, of which Roy was a member, filed four appeals in Oxford County Superior Court, saying proper notification of abutters was not given, the Planning Board failed to meet some criteria set in the town’s telecommunications ordinance and the Planning Board failed to address residents’ concerns.

On Jan. 31, 2013, Oxford County Superior Court Active-Retired Justice Robert Clifford ruled that The Friends of Scribner Hill was an unincorporated association and did not have standing to challenge the Board of Appeals’ decision in the spring of 2012 that upheld the Planning Board’s January 2012 approval to build the tower.

The judge also dismissed two complaints by plaintiffs, who alleged violation of Maine’s Freedom of Access Act and a request for a trial of the facts. The remaining plaintiffs, Kristen Roy, James Gregory and Joseph Brown, had 45 days to reply to the order or the court would have dismissed the case.

But in May 2013, nearly 16 months after the Otisfield Planning Board approved the application, U.S. Cellular announced its intention to return the permit to the town and asked the court to consider the case “moot.”

The town’s cost to defend itself in court against the Friends of Scribner Hill was nearly $50,0000. 

The town still has no cellphone coverage.

Cell tower opponents eventually agreed to work with the town and Roy said she has been working with the Ordinance Policy Review Committee, which is charged with updating the town’s telecommunications ordinance.

Roy said Monday that she has no intention of suing the town, but Ferguson said her complaint clearly indicates the town’s need to protect itself after attempts to discuss the matter with her failed to resolve the issue.

In her initial April 17 complaint, Roy said, “I am not a lawyer and it is unclear to me as to whether this is something we can try to resolve ourselves or if this is something that has to go before the court. I am open to sitting down with you and discussing how we should proceed.”

In a May 5 email to Ferguson, Roy said she would prefer to meet with him in private in Portland, along with the town lawyer, if Ferguson chose to have him present. She said it was “cheaper for the town” and more “convenient” to do so, rather than make a “political spectacle” of the discussion in a public venue.

Roy said rumors that she is running for selectmen this year are unfounded.

Selectman Rick Micklon is up for re-election this year.

Selectmen are nominated from the floor of the annual town meeting.

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