WESTBROOK — Despite their concerns that trash could spread to neighboring properties, Planning Board members Tuesday approved Pine Tree Waste’s plan for a 3,000-square-foot outdoor construction and demolition debris transfer pad at the Casella Trash and Recycling Drop Off Center at 594 County Road.
The project was approved 6-1, with Robin Tannenbaum voting against it.
Casella now handles construction and demolition debris inside its transfer building, but it wants to move that operation outside because of a space crunch indoors, according to Patrick Coughlin, a principal with the St. Germain Collins engineering firm.
“It is an industry standard for construction and demolition debris to be sorted and transferred outdoors,” he said.
Contractors will use the pad to unload debris from their project sites. The material will then be sorted, with the recyclable materials pulled out and the remaining material sent to a landfill, Coughlin said.
The Planning Board approved an outdoor construction and demolition debris transfer pad for the company in 2014, but the permit has since lapsed.
Warren Knight, who operates Smiling Hill Farm and Hillside Lumber at 781 County Road, said while he wants the company to be successful, he is against the project because of Pine Tree waste’s unfulfilled promises and the litter concern.
“We should not abandon our standards to accommodate growth,” he said.
Knight said a plan in 2000 called for the company’s corporate offices to be located at the County Road site, as well as the hauling operations, maintenance facility and trash and recycling processing. That plan, he noted, did not include an outdoor construction and demolition debris pad.
“This was a plan the neighborhood supported. That was the plan that was approved. This is not the plan that was ultimately constructed,” Knight said.
The corporate offices, hauling and maintenance operations were located instead on Pleasant Hill Road in Scarborough.
Planning Board Vice Chairman Rene Daniel said an explanation of why the project did not result in what was originally approved was missing from Tuesday’s presentation.
“I would have felt a lot better if … I heard why certain things happened. I know it is not part of this proposal, but it is perplexing to see a plan that was revised, but no information about what things weren’t done originally,” Daniel said.
Coughlin said projects of the magnitude of the 2000 plan have many different iterations and what gets built is impacted by a company’s finances and the market demand.
Knight said he also is concerned that if the construction and demolition debris is not promptly removed it could end up on neighboring land. This was also the concern of Dave Fenderson, who owns a business at 605 County Road.
“There have been (litter) concerns raised and they are legitimate. There is trash in the roll-offs. How can you better control that?” Planning Board member Dennis Isherwood asked Coughlin.
Coughlin said loads that contain too much trash are rejected, and although some trash does get through, the pad will have a net around it to prevent items such as shingle wrappers, for example, from blowing away.
Coughlin said Pine Tree Waste is offering to put together a litter patrol to clean up a half-mile stretch of County Road from Karen Drive to Larson’s Auto Repair.
“The litter problem is not 100 percent because of this facility, but Pine Tree Waste recognized as part of being part of a good neighbor, they could be part of the solution for this,” he said.
Michael Kelley can be reached at 780-9106 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mkelleynews.
Casella Trash and Recycling Drop Off Center on County Road will move its construction and demolition debris pad outdoors.