OTISFIELD — A former plaintiff in the yearlong Scribner Hill communications tower controversy left the selectmen meeting in tears Wednesday night after charging the town government’s “misrepresentation” of her jeopardizes her safety and that of her family and property.

Kristin Roy, a Scribner Hill resident, has filed five formal complaints with selectmen, beginning in April, claiming the “town government” misrepresented her role in the cell tower controversy and thereby placed her in an unsafe position in town.

She has continually said her opposition to the tower was about the lack of due process and claims the town disregarded many laws during the tower approval process.

Selectmen denied the charges, saying they wanted to resolve the issues in her complaints point by point.

Roy has continually refused or been unable to follow through with discussions.

The town’s legal counsel has advised selectmen to hold any meeting with Roy in public.

In the three-page statement she read to selectmen Wednesday night, Roy said, “I have never questioned my neighbors’ right to do what they like on their land. What I questioned is the town’s perceived entitlement to take away my rights and the rights of other citizens and land owners in order to approve a project that ran contrary to the values of our community and didn’t fully address the needs of our community.”

Roy, who tearfully read her statement between pauses for deep breaths, said she was confronted by a woman April 3 in the Town Office while she was waiting to be helped. She said the woman accused her of being responsible for a motorist’s inability to make a call for help during a car accident. Roy blamed the woman’s opinion of her on information the town provided about her that she called “inaccurate and misleading.”

“I don’t think it is outside the realm of possibility that if someone who has been exposed to the town’s misrepresentation of me, like the woman at the Town Office, and believes I am responsible for something that happened to them, they could feel they have the right to harm me, my family or my property in some way,” she said.

Roy declined to take a break from reading at times, as Selectman Rick Micklon suggested. She also declined to go over the statement “point by point” as suggested by the board in an attempt to iron out the issues.

“I don’t think I have the capacity to talk to you right now,” Roy tearfully said after she finished reading the statement. She asked the board to “sit” on the document, “think about it” and respond to her in writing. She then walked out of the meeting.

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 — three with the Otisfield Appeals Board and one 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 Otisfield Board of Appeals’ decision in the spring of 2012 that upheld the Otisfield 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, including Roy, 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 construct the tower to the town and asked the court to consider the case “moot.”

Ferguson said Wednesday the board is sorry Judge Clifford was unable to rule on the case.

“We are not misrepresenting her,” Ferguson said. “No one is sorrier than we are that Judge Clifford didn’t get to rule on this. We said,’Let’s bury the hatchet with (plaintiffs) Mr. (John) Poto and Mr. (James) Gregory.’ They said, ‘We’re fine with it.’ Obviously, she was not. She said the town was responsible (for Roy’s claims she is being singled out.) We are absolutely not.”

Cell tower opponents eventually agreed to work with the town to help revise some parts of the town’s telecommunication’s ordinance. Roy has been working with the Ordinance Policy Review Committee toward that goal.

Micklon said the board is aware of “instances” of confrontation against Roy, but the “town” had no part in it.

The town’s cost to defend itself in court against the Friends of Scribner Hill was nearly $50,000. Voters added another $10,000 to the legal budget at the annual town meeting last month on the recommendation of the Board of Selectmen, to protect itself against Roy’s complaints.

Roy said Wednesday she has no intention of bringing the town to court but has said in an April 17 statement to the board that the matter may have to be resolved “before the court.”

The town still has no cell tower.

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct number of appeals filed with the Otisfield Appeals Board and the Oxford County Superior Court.


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