Deny Request for Asphalt Plant on North Road
HOLD FOR MARCH 3
This letter is in response to Mr. Manzer’s letter to the editor published in the Bethel Citizen on Feb. 17, 2011. I could not let his false claims go unanswered.
When Mr. Manzer obtained approval to locate at the Douglass gravel pit, I am told that the Douglasses did not know or expect that the plant would emit noxious fumes. However, as soon as the plant started to run constantly, it began producing huge amounts of dust and nasty odors and so Mr. Douglass told Mr. Manzer that he had to get the asphalt plant off of his property.
Now, Mr. Manzer has found another piece of property for his plant. If it was on Paradise Ridge, I am sure we would not be discussing this issue. But, it is again proposed to be located on the North Road, away from where our town leaders and others who support this facility live.
My question is why would any of our town leaders allow such a facility anywhere in our beautiful mountain village, now that we know the plant emits noxious odors? The only possible motive is financial. Who is going to profit from having this plant here? Certainly Mr. Manzer will, as will the seller of the land upon which the plant would be located. Who else? Let’s look at who is supporting this project -- any builders who may have a business arrangement with Mr. Manzer? Who are Mr. Manzer’s business partners in this venture? Certainly those of us who live nearby and will be adversely impacted by the odors and dust will not profit or benefit from the plant, but we will suffer from it.
There is no doubt that the plant emits noxious odors. We do not need any testing. We do not need the plant to start up again to smell it. Those of us who live off of the North Road smelled it when it was in operation and it did not smell anything like “agricultural activities” as claimed by Mr. Manzer. We can tell the difference between hot asphalt and manure. I also understand that Mr. Manzer claimed that the dust created by his plant was really steam. We can tell the difference between steam and dust too.
Mr. Manzer further claims to have DEP emissions approval for his plant. When the plant was in operation and I complained to the town, I asked the town for any environmental reports done on the site. I was told there were none. How can such a facility be allowed to operate without strict conformance with all environmental regulations? Did the town or DEP check for any groundwater contamination from the plant? What about the deer yard on the seller’s property? How could such a facility not adversely impact our environment?
The town’s Site Plan Review Ordinance, Chapter 140 specifically states that the purposes of the chapter are to:
a) Protect property rights and values by balancing the rights of landowners to use their land with the corresponding rights of abutting and neighboring landowners to enjoy their property.
b) Promote the development of an economically sound and stable community,
c) Integrate new development harmoniously and safely into the existing environment.
d). Minimize adverse and irreversible impacts on natural resources.
A hot asphalt plant in our neighborhood will most certainly adversely impact our property values. Who wants to live next to or near such a facility? No one. In addition, the smell and dust from this plant did and would again adversely impact our use and enjoyment of our homes. The intrusion of such an industrial use into our community does not provide for stability in the community or harmony with the environment and it most certainly does adversely impact our natural resources, including, our animals, vegetation and water resources. This type of facility will also ultimately have a negative effect on tourism in our town. It is not worth it.
Chapter 140-8.1 clearly provides that all 26 standards set forth in the chapter must be met in order to approve the proposed site plan. We already know that the plant does not meet or satisfy item 25 which requires that, “When the Planning Board determines, based on the project's characteristics and location, that odors will be a concern, the Board shall find that the proposed development will not produce offensive or harmful odors perceptible beyond the lot lines, either at ground level or habitable elevation.”
The Planning Board cannot make such a finding in this case. There were 43 people who signed a petition affirming that they smelled the facility when it was in operation. Another 230 people signed a petition claiming that they do not want this plant in our area due to the pollution and odors that it would produce.
This facility in the proposed location surely does not satisfy many of the other standards for site plan approval as well, including: pollution, traffic, aesthetics, ground water, surface water, and landscaping.
Based on the town’s own Site Plan Ordinance, this facility cannot lawfully be located in the town of Bethel. That should be the end of it.
If Mr. Manzer wants to be a good neighbor as he claims, then he should respect the wishes and concerns of the neighbors on the North Road and not locate his plant here. He doesn’t own the property on which he wants to build the plant. He can find another more suitable piece of property on which to construct his plant. The owner of the property is not being denied all reasonable use of his property. He already has one residential subdivision on the property.
The fumes, dust and odors from the hot asphalt plant are hazardous to our health and our environment and adversely impact our use and enjoyment of our homes and neighborhood. Our beautiful town of Bethel is no place for this plant. We again ask that the Planning Board deny the request for the hot asphalt plant on the North Road.
Sherry L. Hyman