Conversation about an Eagleville Road business under investigation by the town for possible zoning violations quickly turned into a shouting match at Monday night's Town Council meeting, illustrating the frustration of residents and officials alike.
All the council would tell a group of outspoken neighbors about Site-Ready Materials, the waste management facility on Eagleville Road, was that it was seeking a warrant to gain access to the property.
The town's code enforcer, Gareth Eames, was denied access to the property on several instances this ySite-Ready Materials is also seeking to significantly expand its operations and is engaged in hearings before the Planning Board.
"We have not gained access to [the property] as of yet," reported Town Administrator James Goncalo. " We are attempting to and we are looking at how we can accomplish this and be sure the permits in place are being followed."
Residents are frustrated that the town will not take a stronger stance against the business owners who they say are demeaning their neighborhood's quality of life.
"Neighbors have witnessed noise at all hours, there are foul odors coming from the property, and dust emitting from the property," said Patricia Pelletier, Eagleville Road resident. "You are telling us that a strong legal stance has not been taken because the business is not responsive. This is not acceptable. These are our most common and basic rights as residents and taxpayers and since it is in the interest of those listed, I ask when you are going to seek a warrant and order a cease and desist."
Pelletier said she and other neighbors were worried about ongoing quarrying - a charge previously investigated by Eames. In 2010, Eames violated he business for on-site blasting, but rescinded the violation after Site-Ready stated the blasting was to level land. According to residents, it continues today.
The business, according to Pelletier is advertising the sale of gravel - which she said suggests the business is still not in compliance.
The second issue is the on-site composting on leaf and yard waste. Although the business has a valid state Department of Environmental Management permit, the prerequisite town approval does not exist.
"We are very concerned about our drinking water supply," said Pelletier. The entire neighborhood uses private wells for its fresh water. "The Conservation Committee is also concerned and we want the town to contact DEM right away and discuss what is going on."
According to Andy Teitz, town solicitor, the town was limited in what is could do because many of the current concerns deal with proposed uses rather than existing uses on the site. The Town Council does not have authority to approve or deny the business future uses, as it is a matter for the Planning board.
"If they are not legally in compliance now, then they cannot be going for an expansion," said Teitz. "The Planning Board can in fact choose not to proceed further unless it is provided with a firm explanation of what their current use is."
As council President Jay J. Lambert tried to move the hearing forward, residents, seemingly frustrated with the council's lack of action against Site-Ready began speaking out of turn in the audience and Chief Thomas Blakey had to remind to residents to settle down.
Lambert raised his voice to one resident arguing with council members at the podium.
"Mr. Moran, sit down," said Lambert, raising his voice. When Moran asked why, Lambert replied "Because i told you to and I'm the one who is conducting this meeting. Please try to act like a gentleman."
Resident and local businesswoman Joanne Moniz, a stakeholder in the Tiger Tree lawsuit, called out to remind the council to act quickly or possibly face years more of litigation on the same subject.
"Mrs. Moniz, can I blunt," said Lambert. "Would you shut up."
About a dozen residents got up and left the meeting after Lambert's remarks.
The frustration on both sides of the table at Monday night's meeting stems from a convoluted permitting process that does not merge state and local goals as well as a drawn-out process to investigate what the business' current activities are.
"i apologize Mrs. Moniz you are entitled to make your comments," said Lambert after several moments pause. "We are trying to be responsive to the extent that we can, but you have to appreciate that there is a process that we have to go through and we truly do not have jurisdiction over the matter that you want to discuss here tonight. It's with the Panning Board."
Council members were scheduled to discuss appropriate actions to take against Site-Ready in executive session on Monday.
"Just ask everybody to please trust us to look into this information that has been brought to out attention because it really doesn't benefit anybody to argue," said Councilman David Nelson.