Coalition to Protect Natural Plymouth asks Plymouth officials to stop Kingstown Trucking’s destruction of the Wood Lot

 

Group asks Plymouth Board of Selectmen for help in protecting the County Wood Lot from mining operation

Letter to says Kingstown/Cushing’s mining operation violates the 2015 Special Permit issued by the Zoning Board of Appeals 

At the Plymouth Selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday July 17, 2018, a group of 65 residents who are members of the Coalition to Protect Natural Plymouth asked the Board of Selectmen for helping in stopping the ongoing destruction of the County Wood Lot.

The group’s representative, Sharl Heller, gave the Board a copy of a letter it was planning to send to the Zoning Board of Appeals asserting that Kingstown Trucking Co.’s mining operation on the County Wood Lot violates the ZBA’s Special Permit.  The letter cites two violations:

  1. No performance bond submitted to the Town by Kingstown Trucking
  2. No “permitted end use” for the mining operation — which means that because neither Kingstown nor the landowner, the County, have approval to put anything on the mined land after the sand and gravel mining is done, this is a stand alone sand and gravel operation – prohibited by the Zoning Bylaw, Section 205-18.

The group asked the Board of Selectmen for a natural resource inventory of the site, enforcement of the Special Permit conditions, and to get evidence of the alleged end use of a solar field on the site.

On July 18, 2018, the group formally asked the Building Department to enforce the special permit.  Here is the request:

Request_Enforcement_SpecialPermit3751R

This is the second time residents have asked the Town to enforce the Bylaw and to stop the illegal mining operation on the County Wood Lot site.  In March, 2018, over 60 residents also asked for enforcement of the Bylaw, but the Building Inspector denied the request.

Here is concerned residents’ March 2018 request to the Building Department for enforcement of the Special Permit:

2018.03.09_RequestforEnforcement_FINAL-1

The Building Department denied the residents’ request but never addressed the fundamental, most basic requirement of the Town’s sand and gravel mining Bylaw requirement: there can be no “stand alone” mining operations: the developer has to have an “approved” use for the site after the mining is done.  Here, Kingstown and the County have no end use approved, and this is an illegal stand alone mining operation.  The Building Inspector fails to address this fundamental question — shirking his duty to enforce the Bylaw.

4.10.18_DIS_DenialReqEnf_Sheehan ltr 18

County violating the Plymouth Zoning Bylaw and Massachusetts laws against destruction of the environment

The Plymouth County Commissioners are violating Massachusetts law and the Plymouth Zoning Bylaw by allowing Kingstown Trucking Company and its owner, Brad Cushing, to start sand and gravel mining operations on the County Wood Lot off Long Pond Road in Plymouth.

Photos on July 6, 2018 show the work starting.

The 2015 Special Permit issued by by the Zoning Board of Appeals to Kingstown Trucking/Brad Cushing for the Wood Lot mining operation requires performance bond.

The purpose of a performance bond is to provide funds in case the developer fails to properly restore a sand and gravel mining site — which happens often in Plymouth.

Kingstown/Cushing have NOT filed the performance bond — but have been allowed to start work anyway.

The Special Permit, Condition 5 explicitly says a bond is required, stating:

“A performance bond determined by the Building Commissioner, and directly tied to the restabilization of the work site, shall be required in an amount equal to a documented, verifiable estimate of the cost to vegetatively reclaim the work site according to the site plan and existing conditions site plan. The estimate shall include an adjustment for projected inflation or other predicable factors over the term of the permit plus one year.”

See the 2015 Special Permit here.  SpecialPermitZoning2015

Other mining sites in Plymouth have not been  properly reclaimed, but the Town zoning officials have done nothing about this.  For example, here is what a  “vegetatively reclaimed” mining site looks like on Kingstown/Cushing’s property abutting the Wood Lot. When concerned residents viewed the site in July 2016 there was erosion and no plants meeting the requirements of the Bylaw that govern site restoration on mining sites.

2016.02.03_Lot19ESlope.JPG

Photo: Looking northeast, January 2016 at Blue Wave Solar Facility on Cushing property, Plymouth MA.

The County Commissioners are violating the Bylaw because they are allowing the mining to begin without an “approved end use” for the Wood Lot site.  For more on this issue, check out other pages on this site.

All of this work is causing damage to the environment in violation of Massachusetts law.

Join us as we fight to stop exploitation of the publicly owned Wood Lot in Plymouth

The County Wood Lot is a 106 acre tract of land located off Exit 5 in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  It is held in trust by the County Commissioners for the benefit of the public.  Yet, closed door deals, corruption, and lawsuits are embroiling the County’s efforts to sell of this land to the highest bidder so that it can pad its budget.

As County Commissioner Dan Pallotta stated in 2010, “the key to our financial stability is gravel.  It’s cash and carry…if we are generating substantial revenues from the sand and gravel on our properties we we’ll be in better shape than most every city and town in the county.” http://plymouth.wickedlocal.com/x1409378993/Sale-of-county-land-on-Long-Pond-Road-still-in-limbo

2010_WickedLocal_Sale of county land on Long Pond Road still in limbo

Now, the second “bait and switch” involving local zoning and this area of Town is likely to result in complete destruction of the Wood Lot by County Commissioners who see nothing but dollar signs for their salaries.

The Plymouth County Commissioners are engaged in various money-making schemes that will destroy the 106-acre County Woodlot on Long Pond Road.  The County operates like a fiefdom, under the tyrannical hand of County Commissioner Dan Pallotta.  The County Woodlot is owned by “the inhabitants of Plymouth County.”  Yet, Mr. Pallotta believes this is the County’s asset to be exploited in any way he sees fit.  The County needs to generate some cash-and guess what, the public’s land has valuable sand and gravel that can be mined for millions of dollars.  After it levels the site, the County will likely seek to change the zoning from residential to commercial or industrial.  Then the Town of Plymouth — not the County — will bear the cost of more water, sewer, schools, traffic, and loss of community character.

For over 100 years since the Woodlot was donated to the public, local residents have enjoyed the County Woodlot’s unique ecology.  There are trails for hiking, hunting, and nature observation that are enjoyed by people from all walks of life.  There are open fields where the public picnics, flies kites and walks.

Join the fight to Save the Woodlot and tell the County Commissioners: hands off our Woodlot!

 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead