While discussion of a proposed Dumpster Depot facility on Ashleigh Drive was continued from the June 5 Planning Board, abutters are saving their questions for the June 19 meeting.
David Paul, owner of the Dumpster Depot, and his engineer, Chris Tymula, requested a continuance from the June 5 meeting because Paul was going to be out of town.
But many of the abutters attended anyway, in a show of solidarity.
Abutters have expressed concern in previous meetings that the facility would change the character of their neighborhood, destroy wildlife, and, at worst, bring in vermin, chemical runoff and possible disease.
“We knew it might be continued, but we came out anyway,” resident Brenda Wilson said after the group left the meeting. “That’s how important it is to us.”
Wilson has become the spokesperson for the group of more than 100 residents, 25 of whom showed up June 5. More than 100 neighbors, as well as other Derry sympathizers, have signed the petition, Wilson said.
Asked to describe her opposition, Wilson said she didn’t know where to begin. “There are so many things – the noise, the odor, the sight of it, possible carcinogens and vermin,” she said.
It’s not the right location for that kind of business, Wilson said, and it doesn’t “fit” with the other businesses in the Route 28/Manchester Road area.
Wilson said she has done “hours” of research on both this project and the Dumpster Depot in Manchester. She said Paul has not made any concessions to the neighbors’ concerns. In particular, Wilson is skeptical about a buffer he plans to install.
Three rows of trees aren’t nearly enough to muffle the sounds and sights of the Depot, and it wouldn’t do any good anyway, she pointed out: the neighborhood is higher than the proposed facility.
Wilson’s major problem is with the owner and not with the Planning Board. Both she and her husband, Bruce, said the board listens to the residents, though Brenda Wilson qualified it with a “somewhat.” “I appreciate that they let us talk in the last meeting, even though it went over three hours,” she said.
“I feel they don’t have the correct information to make an informed decision,” Bruce Wilson said. “But they are ‘getting it.’” Though she wasn’t thrilled about Walmart as a neighbor, Brenda Wilson said the Dumpster Depot propelled her into activism. She has never been politically active before.
Karen Struthers of Donmac Drive has never been political before either, but as the closest abutter, she knew she had to get involved. Last summer, when some of the land was clear-cut, she realized “you can see my house from the movie theater.” It wasn’t what she signed on for 21 years ago.
Struthers objects to Tymula’s and Paul’s statements that the Dumpsters will contain only construction debris. She’s gone around town and photographed Dumpsters in various locations, including behind 5 Guys and Domino’s at Hood Commons, at Easy Test Pools, at a hair salon and an auto dealership. All of those businesses could produce chemicals, food waste or vermin, she pointed out, and she’s not at all sure the residue can be removed by “tipping.”
She is concerned with waste products going into her water. She wasn’t thrilled when Walmart relocated from further down. “It is simply the wrong place for it,” Struthers said of the proposal.
Planning Board vice-chair John O’Connor has recused himself from discussion of Dumpster Depot because he is an abutter. But he had plenty of questions for the board after looking at minutes from the town’s Technical Review Committee (TRC).
O’Connor referred to notes from Nov. 9, 2012, where the TRC noted the site will require a Solid Waste permit from the state Department of Environmental Services, and would be considered a “transfer station.”
O’Connor requested the board obtain clarification on whether Paul intended to do repairs at the facility. While he has stated publicly that he has no intention of performing repairs at the site, the TRC notes listed two dedicated bays at 3,200 square feet for “vehicle maintenance and Dumpster repair.”
O’Connor wrote in a memo, “I recommend the board get clarification on this issue.”
The TRC noted that Paul and Tymula said the company owns more than 350 Dumpsters. When informed the applicant intended to break up the parcel into four lots, the TRC asked if the new lots would contain additional Dumpsters.
The TRC, and O’Connor, also took note of the fact that Paul had stated mechanics would be working a second shift, and asked if there would be a maintenance garage facility.
Technical Review also asked about test pits, noting that blueprints showed test pits had been dug, and sought the results. They asked why perc (soil percolation) tests had not been done, noting the area has a water table of 3.5 to 4 feet even in drought.
The TRC notes of Jan. 11, 2013 discussed fire plans, with a note that Fire Chief George Klauber recommended a sprinkler system and the applicant declined. O’Connor wrote in a memo, “I have a concern that if a fire breaks out, the toxic fumes will follow the prevailing winds, which are in the direction of the neighborhood where there are many young children.” He also noted the lack of spray booth containments to prevent aerosols from escaping into the atmosphere.
O’Connor also noted that a pond and four wetlands are not depicted on the prints. He advocated adding monitoring wells. O’Connor’s memo included a request that Town Assessor David Gomez come before the board to explain the possible impact of the Dumpster Depot on the value of the houses in the neighborhood and the impact of lost revenue in lower taxes. “An example of this,” he wrote, is a “well-kept house in our neighborhood that is assessed on the town books at $196,200.” The house sold last week for approximately $80,000, O’Connor said.
O’Connor referred to a Vanasse, Hangen and Brustin consultant report, which suggested the applicant “should consider” adding a safety fence and lockable access gate around the proposed detention basin. “I would strongly recommend that the words ‘should consider’ be changed to ‘shall be required’” for the safety of the neighborhood children, O’Connor wrote.
Further discussion on the proposal will be Wednesday, June 19, at 7 p.m. in the Council conference room.