Asphalt Plant on North Road
We live off the North Road. We never received the notice of the Planning Board meeting at which a "temporary" hot asphalt plant was originally approved by the Town. When we did learn of the approval in September 2009, we immediately voiced our objection and asked the Town for a rehearing. The Town denied our request.
Less than a year later, the owner of the plant already was expanding and requested approval to build an office and sewage holding tank. We again voiced our objection and reminded the Town that they had approved the plant only as a "temporary" use and that the request for an office and septic tank is inconsistent with such a temporary use.
We also asked for copies of the entire file on this matter, including all environmental reports. We learned that notwithstanding that the Town code requires an environmental report. The Town did not require any environmental reports for the hot asphalt plant and the Town approved the expansion.
The owner of the hot asphalt plant is now requesting approval to move the facility to across the road, where it can expand even more.
The North Road west of the proposed facility is all residential. All of us who live on or near the North Road are affected by this facility.
There are two things we know for certain about this hot asphalt plant:
1) The plant stinks. The hot asphalt plant emits noxious fumes and odors. When the plant was in operation, you could smell it for hundreds of yards; and
2) No facility such as this one should ever be approved without an environmental report showing that it is safe to inhale the fumes that are emitted from this type of facility or from the trucks that move the asphalt. No such environmental report was requested by or provided to the Town.
We asked the Town Manager to come to our home to smell the fumes from the facility. He refused. Do we know if these fumes are hazardous to our health? How can they be safe? Even if the plant is "state of the art," the asphalt gets shipped by trucks and the trucks give off emissions and noise.
If anyone from the Planning Board lived on the North Road, they would not be so quick to approve this facility. Certainly, if anyone who spoke in favor of the facility lived on the North Road, they would not support the facility. Those who support the facility are in a position to benefit financially from the facility.
The Town's Selectmen and Planning Board Members are supposed to protect the health, safety and welfare of the Town's residents. This facility adversely impacts the health, safety and welfare of the residents. The Town has no business promoting the business interests of some people over the health, safety and welfare of its residents.
We moved to Bethel because it is, in our opinion, the most beautiful mountain town in all of New England. This hot asphalt plant in a residential area is completely contradictory to the beauty and serenity of our Town. If approved, this plant can destroy the beauty and reputation of our Town for the financial benefit of a few.
We ask that the Planning Board deny the request for the hot asphalt plant on the North Road.
Sherry L. Hyman