By Pattie Pacella, Neighb News Correspondent
The Acushnet Selectboard held a Remote Public Hearing to discuss the Land Use License Renewal for PJ Keating. The meeting was live on the town’s YouTube channel, approximately seven people in “watching” mode. The three Selectboard members were present, along with Town Administrator, Julie Hebert, Christopher Oliver and Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher.
Selectboard member Kevin Gaspar stated that he felt that P.J. Keating had a “lack of regard” for residents around the quarry and read from general guidelines for plan approvals that he located on the state website.
He said if someone like him could do a little research and find these guidelines a company like P.J. Keating should have proceeded that way before they moved the hot-mix asphalt plant to the front of the property without going through the proper steps.
The company operates both a quarry and an asphalt plant on the property.
“I don’t understand the ignorance of this company to move their operation to the front of the property without following the proper plan approval,” Mr. Gaspar stated.
Selectboard member David Desroches agreed with Mr. Gaspar, stating that when he first came on board as a Selectboard member he was uneducated with the whole process but in the last few months has come full circle with the project.
Chairperson, Roger Cabral stated that he felt that P.J. Keating was “tone deaf.”
“They just don’t get it,” Mr. Cabral said. “Or perhaps they don’t care. I believe they have total disregard for their neighbors. And I am not inclined to give them a land use license. They have no good faith or attempt at being a good neighbor.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” Mr. Gaspar said.
With that, the Selectboard unanimously voted to deny the land use license for P.J. Keating with 31 findings to support their decision.
In the 31 point motion, the board noted: ‘The aboveground storage tanks were previously located on the easterly portion of the Property, and away from residential homes and public ways. Applicant has relocated the tanks to the westerly portion of the Property, near residential homes, and within approximately 100 yards of South Main Street, a public way in the Town of Acushnet.”
The motion also says that PJK initially said there would be six to 12 trucks visiting the asphalt plant, but, “We have since received information that the truck traffic may be as high as 100 trucks per day.”
The motion also refers to the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection’s letter stating that the relocation of the HMA failed to meet the criteria for exemption of some requirements.
Point 19 of the motion states: “The MassDEP Determination Letter also states: ‘given the MassDEP findings identified in this document, the Facility cannot operate the relocated hot mix asphalt drum plant and hot oil heater until such time as it has demonstrated that it meets the requirements of 310 CMR 7.02(2)(b)(27) or it has obtained a modification to Plan Approval No. 4P09023 by submitting and receiving approval of a Non-Major Air Quality Plan Application in accordance with 310 CMR 7.02(5).’”
A second letter from MassDEP also addresses sound mitigation measures, and nuisance conditions other than noise that could cause or contribute air pollution,
“As of the date of this decision, the Applicant has yet to satisfy MassDEP criteria in order to operate the HMA plant,” reads point 23 of the motion,
The motion also notes that the board held a public hearing and residents expressed their opposition to the application.
“Based on these facts, the Board finds that the storage of liquid asphalt in the relocated aboveground storage tanks is not in the public interest because it will increase the threat to public health, safety, and the environment,” reads point 25.
The motion goes further, saying the plant will “increase the threat to public health, safety, and the environment.”
The plan will also increase noise pollution and additional dust and environmental pollution in the surrounding residential neighborhood due to increased truck traffic.
“The Applicant has failed to satisfy the Board that the storage of liquid asphalt in the relocated aboveground storage tanks is in the public interest, and has failed to address sufficiently the possible detrimental effects on the surrounding residential neighborhood.”
Find the motion here: PJKeatingDenialMotion
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