Zoning Board OKs Move for Powder Coating Company

The Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) voted to allow a special exception for a powder coating business to locate in the Groundwater Resource Protection District, and the special exception was also given approval by the Conservation Commission and Planning Board.

Realtor Ralph Valentine appeared at the March 5 Zoning Board meeting representing Ray LaPlume, owner of New England Tanya Finishes. LaPlume wants to relocate his business to 8 Tinkham Ave., after a building on Maple Street burned last year.

The Tinkham Avenue property is Parcel ID 35015-011 and is zoned Industrial IV.

Valentine read off the four criteria for locating a business in the Groundwater Resource Protection District:

• The business will not be detrimental to the quality of the groundwater. Valentine said there will be no drains in the floor and all work will be done inside the building.

• The business will not reduce the long-term flow of water in the district. Valentine said the facility will be on town water.

• The business will not discharge wastewater on site. The facility will also be on town sewer service, Valentine said.

• It will comply with all other applicable regulations.

LaPlume said he has been in the spray-coating industry for 50 years and owner of New England Tanya Finishes for 30. “We offer powder coating and spray paint services for a large number of clients,” he said, including the medical and military fields. About 70 percent of his business is powder-coating and the rest spray painting, he said.

LaPlume defined powder coating as “free-flowing dry powder which is non-hazardous.” It is heated in an oven to form a skin, he said.

In 30 years he has never had a spill or been charged with improper venting, LaPlume said. His waste products and solvents are stored in containers and a company specializing in chemical waste removes the waste products, he said.

His chemical products are stored in a lockable fireproof cabinet, he added.

Valentine said he and his client have met several times with the Technical Review Committee, which has given conditional approval.

Conservation Chair Margaret Ives asked about training for staff. LaPlume said there are no formal group training sessions but he has a manager appointed to oversee training. In staff meetings he also addresses safety concerns, he said.

“He follows best practices for policies and procedures,” Valentine added.

Ives said her group would recommend that the training protocol include something in writing, “to prevent problems and to deal with them when they occur.”

Planning Vice-Chair John O’Connor expressed concern about the stratified aquifer, which runs under the Tinkham Avenue area and through Windham, Salem and Pelham to Massachusestts. He asked about environmental issues with the building itself, and Valentine said it is a multi-tenant building and the owner, Kachanian Two Realty Trust, “has some issues” with the building inspector and Fire Department but those were being addressed.

ZBA Vice-Chair Allan Virr asked about any odors that would be coming from the building and LaPlume observed that when he was located on Maple Street near a residential area, he never had any complaints.

The Zoning Board approved the special exception 4-1 with the condition that a formal policies and procedures system be developed and the owner respond to all questions from Craig Durrette, the town’s environmental engineer. The Planning Board accepted the plan by consensus, as did the Conservation Commission, with Ives saying, “Our aquifer is precious and should not be taken for granted. The unexpected can always happen.”

In other business, the board approved a variance for Craig and Snow Bonneau to create a new building lot with less than the required frontage on land they own at 20 Gulf Road.