Derry Conservation Commission chair: Too late to change Dumpster Depot decision
DERRY — It’s too late for the Conservation Commission to do anything about changing its decision to sign off on the controversial Dumpster Depot project, the commission’s chairman said.
Margaret Ives said members were told earlier this year by representatives of Dumpster Depot that the business would have only empty Dumpsters at the site on Ashleigh Drive. But under a proposal later approved with conditions by the Planning Board on Aug. 21, the business is allowed to have full Dumpsters.
“And I’ll say this: Unfortunately, I signed the plan in June based on the conditions that we had,” Ives said in the commission’s Monday meeting. “We know that the residents are very concerned.”
The decision by the Planning Board allows 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 in the truck under an enclosed canopy at the facility, according to a condition of the plan approved by the Planning Board.
Conservation Commission member Paul Doolittle brought up the issue during a Town Council meeting on Sept. 17. Doolittle said he felt deceived after hearing from the representatives that there wouldn’t be any full Dumpsters on site.
“Basically they lied to us,” Doolittle said after the council meeting. “They told us they were going to do something and they changed. Our signatures were not based on the information they gave us.”
But even though they might have reached a different decision in June had they known about the full Dumpsters, there isn’t anything commissioners can do as the deadline for taking additional action has passed, Ives said during Monday’s meeting.
Ives said commission members, though, can learn from the Dumpster Depot decision as they didn’t conduct a site review of the property, she said.
“We are not making that mistake again; we are going to do a site review on every property that comes before us,” Ives said.
She also urged the commission members to follow the Oct. 3 Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting. In that meeting, two abutters to the project, state Rep. John O’Connor and Brenda Wilson, are scheduled to have their appeals of the Planning Board decision go before the ZBA. Ives said only three members of the Conservation Commission can attend the ZBA meeting, otherwise it would constitute a commission meeting.
Ives said she plans to go, as does Vice Chairman Paul Dionne. The third member who will be attending has yet to be named.
In the Aug. 21 meeting, the Planning 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. Planning Board members Al Dimmock and Ann Marie Alongi voted against the plan. Dimmock is the Town Council’s liaison to the Planning Board.
The plan has drawn the ire of neighbors who say the business doesn’t belong in the area and will cause noise and pollution, and increase rodent and mosquito activity.
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. Paul said last month that he has gone through the legal process, and the plan was approved and passed all regulations.