DERRY — Two state representatives and a town councilor are calling for an appeal of the Planning Board’s recent decision to approve the controversial Dumpster Depot site plan.
State Reps. David Thompson and John O’Connor, who is vice chairman of the Planning Board, joined Town Councilor Al Dimmock in denouncing the project.
“A huge majority of the town doesn’t want this, and it’s going to negatively impact the future of our economic development,” said O’Connor. He has recused himself from voting on the plan because he’s an abutter.
Dumpster Depot owner David Paul has said he understands residents living near the proposed facility don’t want it in their back yard, but that it is allowed in the Industrial zoned section.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’ve gone through the process and it was approved, and it passed all regulations,” Paul said Thursday. “We’ve done everything appropriate as far as state and local levels.”
Paul added, “I understand they have the right to appeal.”
The three officials got together earlier this week at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Ashleigh Drive, not far from the site of the proposed business, to denounce the project and challenge the Planning Board’s Aug. 21 decision.
In that meeting, the board voted 5-2 to approve the proposal that calls for the construction of a two-story, 7,200 square foot building with outside space for 350 Dumpsters. Dimmock and Ann Marie Alongi voted against the plan. The Dumpsters would be rented out to individuals or contracting companies on Ashleigh Drive.
O’Connor said the plan will place Dumpsters close to an area that has a movie theater, Walmart, a restaurant and other businesses. It would diminish property values of not only residences near the site, but of the businesses as well, he said. This would in turn pass the cost on to property owners throughout the town.
Dimmock, who is the council’s liaison to the Planning Board, also called for an appeal, saying the meeting was poorly run and the public input wasn’t allowed at the meeting. But during the session, Paul was able to address board members.
He said Planning Board Chairman David Granese should have allowed those attending to speak.
“Whether they are right or wrong they have a right to express their opinion, and the public forum is where they have that right,” Dimmock said.
Dimmock added that when he was elected, he vowed to stand up for voters over all other interests.
Granese said he was only following board rules and public input wasn’t allowed during the meeting.
“At that point, it was a deliberation of the board; the public input had ended,” Granese said.
Thompson said he didn’t attend the meeting but watched it on television. He said Planning Board members should have been more active in questioning Paul during the session.
“I watched the meeting and thought it was the worst thing I ever saw in my life,” Thompson said.
The plan has also drawn the ire of neighbors who say the business doesn’t belong in the area and will cause pollution, noise and increased rodent and mosquito activity.
Abutter Brenda Wison is leading an effort to appeal the decision. She said she isn’t alone in opposing the proposal as about 150 people have signed a petition opposing the project and support the appeal.
“We are definitely appealing,” she said.
One of biggest reasons that will be cited for the appeal is the decision by the board to allow the business to have full Dumpsters left at the facility for 24 hours on weekdays and 36 hours on weekends.
Any Dumpster left would have to be covered and remain on the truck under an enclosed canopy at the facility, according to the plan.
Wilson said the first step is to bring a request for a rehearing of the matter back to the Planning Board. If that is rejected, it would then go before the Zoning Board. Wilson said an appeal has to be filed within 30 days of the decision.