Divided Planning Board Approves Dumpster Depot

Citing an applicant who is “within his rights” to build a facility for Dumpster storage in the Industrial III zone (I-III), the Planning Board gave conditional approval, in a split vote, to David Paul’s application to move his Dumpster Depot operation to a location off Ashleigh Drive.
Paul and his engineer, Chris Tymula of MHF Design Consultants, appeared before the board at its Aug. 21 meeting, a continuation from the June 19 meeting. The property in question is PID 08017, 41 Ashleigh Drive, and is zoned I-III.

The board’s vote was 5 yes, 2 no and one abstention (vice-chair John O’Connor, who lives in the neighborhood). While several board members expressed discomfort with their votes, they agreed that Paul had met the conditions for his type of business in the I-III zone – and they imposed more conditions on him.

A group of about 30 residents and abutters attended the meeting, and expressed dissatisfaction with the decision. Tymula said the applicant had made changes in his plan since June 19, including adding a 6-inch chain link fence around the Dumpsters and detention basin. He updated the landscape plan with buffer plantings, Tymula said. He identified two areas of concern from previous meetings: hours of operation and having unemptied Dumpsters come back to the facility.

Open for business
Tymula said Paul is requesting the following operating hours: for trucks arriving and leaving, Mondays through Fridays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Office and business hours would be Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Those are the hours he needs to do business,” Tymula told the board. “My client would like no restraints on the hours, but he understands the sensitivity of the situation with neighbors.”
It is interesting, Tymula said, that the neighboring Walmart has no limits on hours of truck arrivals.

Al Dimmock, Town Council representative to the Planning Board, observed that, “In the beginning you said you did not need Saturday hours. In the last meeting you sprang it on us that you want Saturday hours.”

Dimmock added, “no dumps are open on Saturday.”
But Paul contended, “Every facility we use for dumping is open till 1 p.m.” In most cases it’s not an issue, he said. This Saturday his crew did bring back a couple of Dumpsters from an event in Londonderry.

“We want to be straightforward about this,” Paul said. Full or empty Dumpsters? Tymula said his client is asking to have the ability to bring a full but covered Dumpster back on occasion. He said this is consistent with the guidelines the state Department of Environmental Services (DES) has set out for a “waste in transit facility,” which is how DES classifies the Dumpster Depot.

According to DES regulations, Tymula said, Paul has the ability to store an unemptied Dumpster for four days. “But we will concede this one – we’re asking for up to 24 hours,” he said. “It’s no different from Walmart, Hannaford, the movie theater. We will keep it on the truck and covered.
“This will give us some flexibility,” Tymula said of the requested hours, “and it’s still more strict than what DES allows.”

Dimmock objected, saying, “This man (Tymula) keeps saying DES says he can do this, he can do that. DES is not the governing body for the Town of Derry.” Member Jan Choiniere said she had heard that there were Dumpster Depot units behind a restaurant in Hampstead. “We do not haul garbage,” Paul said. Member Frank Bartkiewicz asked, “So you contract out? Are they clean when they come back?”
“They are empty when they come back,” Paul said of the contracted Dumpsters. “They’re not power-washed, if that’s what you’re asking.”

At this, several community members made remarks, and Chairman David Granese said, “If there’s another outburst, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” Granese pointed out that the meeting was not a public hearing. Several board members asked Paul how often his crews brought back units that weren’t emptied. Paul said it wasn’t often. “But in business, you never know what will be needed,” he said. “It may be three one month, one the next.”

Tymula said if a unit had to be brought back and stored before emptying, it would be kept on the truck and kept covered.

Objections overruled?
Tymula asked the board not to look at the issue emotionally, but to give it a “legal, fair review.
“My client has given everything the board has asked for,” he said. “We’ve met the state and town requirements, we’ve added buffers and fences.” To the argument that Ashleigh Drive is not the “right place” for a Dumpster facility, Tymula said, “It is allowed in the I-3 zone.”
The board voted 7-0 to accept the revised plan.

Then it entered into discussion on conditions. Member Randy Chase said, “I don’t think the hours they are requesting are unreasonable. It’s an industrial zone.” To a request to replant trees along the perimeter, Chase said that would “take care of itself. The trees will grow back.”

In regard to the unemptied Dumpsters, Granese suggested a limit of 24 hours.
Chase suggested 24 hours for a weekday, noting, “They should be able to get the stuff out and to a facility by the next day.” For weekends, he recommended a maximum of 36 hours, with the Dumpsters required to be out by Monday morning.

“How can Code Enforcement keep up with that?” Dimmock objected. “I’m saying, no full containers whatever.” Chase responded, “Mr. Paul has made some good faith efforts. I think we should give him 24 hours on weekdays, 36 on weekends.” The board agreed on the condition of 24 hours weekdays and 36 over a weekend. They agreed on a condition that Paul put in a 40-foot buffer between any new construction and the northeast property line. And they approved a condition that any loaded Dumpster stay on the truck and be covered.

Hours were set at 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays for business, as well as 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays for trucks.

Other conditions include no onsite storage of municipal solid waste (household or restaurant garbage), annual testing of groundwater, no washing Dumpsters on site, rodent and mosquito control measures, minor repairs only done inside the building and major repairs done off-site. A buffer of three rows of fir or spruce trees is required around the Dumpsters.

As the board voted to give conditional approval of the project, the five “yeses” were less than enthusiastic. Chase said, “Though I don’t feel this is where it belongs, the applicant has met all the requirements and made the changes to accommodate us, so I vote yes.” Choiniere, Granese, Bartkewicz and Frank Mazzuchelli voted in the affirmative and for the same reasons.

Ann Alongi voted no, saying, “We will have a difficult time with this type of business in this area.” She referenced the new Route 28 and the new roads around Walmart and said, “The trucks for Dumpster Deport will tear up the roads and it will cost us to repair them.” Dimmock voted no, saying, “If we allow this, we are derelict in our duties.”

The community members in the audience were visibly and audibly dismayed, shouting “You’re a loser!” and “You call that a Planning Board?” until Granese told them to leave the Council chambers.