A contractor’s yard or a transfer station? The Derry Planning Board grappled with that question on Wednesday, June 19, as it continued to review the site plan application for the Dumpster Depot. The facility proposed for Ashleigh Drive has prompted criticism from residents, ranging from noise to carcinogens, in several public hearings, as previously reported in the Nutfield News.
David Paul, owner of the company and of the current Manchester Depot, attended the June 19 meeting with his engineer, Chris Tymula. Though Tymula and Paul noted “good faith” efforts they were making to meet residents’ concerns, the board and Paul decided they needed more time, and the board tabled the issue to its Aug. 21 meeting.
Tymula and Paul took the microphones and Tymula read a list of residents’ concerns, including more buffer plantings, semi-annual water testing, no washing of Dumpsters on site, hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., on-site monitoring wells, limitation of the height of Dumpsters, bringing only empty Dumpsters on site, and rodent control.
Tymula said, “While I respectfully disagree to some of the comments, we will try to address them to the best of our ability.” Tymula listed the following issues:
• Buffers. He said the buffers to the east are “more than adequate,” pointing out that there are 800 feet between the Wilson home and the edge of the property and 900 feet between the O’Connor home and the property’s edge. “There is 600 to 700 feet of woods and wetland,” Tymula said.
He agreed that the Struthers property on Donmac Drive needed more buffering, and said he and Paul would put in three rows of trees, which would grow to be taller than the tallest Dumpster.
• Dumpster Storage. They would be placed on a recycled asphalt and gravel base, which would minimize the noise, Tymula said.
The state does not require monitoring wells for this kind of facility.
To concerns about EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) and West Nile virus from possible mosquitoes, Tymula said any runoff would drain into a treatment pond. Tymula said the company is willing to monitor the mosquitoes for the first six months, possibly bringing in a third party such as Dragon Mosquito Control. But he also pointed out that his client’s facility would be adjacent to 14.5 acres of wetland.
• Maintenance of vehicles. “My client,” Tymula said, “would like to do whatever is legal in a contractor’s yard, including maintaining his own vehicles.”
Much of last week’s discussion centered on how to classify the proposed facility, according to state and Derry standards. Council representative Al Dimmock said, “I read a list of things allowed in this district, and I found nowhere where his company would be allowed.”
While there’s no listing for a Dumpster rental facility in the town zoning ordinances, Planning Director George Sioras said Code Enforcement Officer Bob Mackey had determined that Dumpster Depot is a permitted use in the Industrial III district. Town Administrator John Anderson noted that Mackey had determined the facility would be classified as a contractor’s yard/freight trucking terminal.
But in a public hearing, residents challenged that definition. Resident Brenda Wilson told the board, “You need to take a good, hard look at this plan in its entirety. This does not constitute a ‘contractor’s yard.’”
Tymula contended he had spoken to Wayne Wheeler at the state Department of Environmental Services (DES), who told him the Depot would not be considered a transfer station or a landfill. Derry Planning Assistant Elizabeth Robideaux confirmed that Wheeler had told her the same thing.
Residents and board members continued to express their concerns. Dimmock questioned the idea that the receptacles would be trash-free, noting that he rented one when he was putting on a new roof. “The next day I came out, and there were six bags of rubbish in it,” he said.
Even if the containers only hold construction debris, there could be cockroaches in a torn-down house, he said. And traveling 900 feet “is nothing to a rat,” Dimmock said. “We should deny this for health reasons.”
Resident Mark Flattes was opposed for environmental reasons, and also wondered if trucks would be using his street, Linlew Drive, as a shortcut.
John O’Connor, vice-chair of the Planning Board, recused himself from the board, but had plenty to say as a resident of the neighborhood. He said the facility would be a transfer station and noted that DES requires a solid waste permit for a transfer station.
Tymula said Wheeler had told him it wasn’t a transfer station, and they needed no permit.
As Paul owns the whole 62-acre parcel, O’Connor wondered if he intended to put more Dumpsters on the other lots. He was also concerned about earlier statements from Paul that there might be a mechanic on site working a second shift. “Is this a garage?” O’Connor wondered.
Paul countered that he did not employ a mechanic, and that any extensive mechanical work would be contracted out. However, he said, his people might have to adjust a mirror or change a tire for safety reasons.
“I would not want to see any oil changes, any exchange of fluids,” Chairman David Granese said.
O’Connor expressed concern that Fire Chief George Klauber had recommended installing a sprinkler system, and that the applicant had rejected the idea. “If it’s a vehicle maintenance/paint shop and it’s not sprinkled, the prevailing winds could carry fumes to the children in the neighborhood,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor also “strongly suggested” putting in monitoring wells and mandating that the detention pond be fenced and locked.
He reminded the board that both RSA 674:44 and the town’s LDCR (Land Development Control Regulations) guard against “conditions detrimental to health, safety and prosperity.” Paul said he owns the Dumpster Depot name and franchises the concept. There are three other Dumpster Depots in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, but he does not own them, he said.
The sticking point for Tymula and Paul was residents’ insistence that no trash be stored at the Ashleigh Drive facility. Paul explained that there were occasions where his drivers couldn’t get to a transfer station before it closed for the day. “With 30-yard Dumpsters and five on site at a time, that would be a maximum of 150 yards of cubic waste,” Tymula said, adding that he doubted if that would ever happen.
The Dumpsters will be covered and shielded by a canopy, Tymula said, and if Paul were not allowed to store occasional debris overnight, “that would almost be a deal-breaker for my client.” Anderson suggested a clause prohibiting Dumpsters being brought back with any kind of load inside, and said, “If you want to operate in Derry, bring back empty Dumpsters.”
Anderson compiled a list of conditions the board might want to impose, including: no on-site fueling, no on-site storage of “solid municipal waste,” semi-annual groundwater testing, annual rodent and mosquito control, limitations to the size and number of Dumpsters, and bringing in only empty Dumpsters.
Sioras added the buffer for the Struthers property, and Granese put in that hours of operation should be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with no vehicles started up before 6:45 a.m. and no vehicles returned after 6 p.m.
Tymula said the conditions “required that the applicant have time to think.”
`Anderson suggested tabling the issue to the next meeting, but Granese pointed out that July was already full, so the board agreed to table it until the Aug. 21 meeting.