This is a printer-friendly version of an article from

08/29/2018 12:00 AM

Shoreline Rail & Recycling Challenging Clinton PZC in Court

The developer of a controversial proposed recycling plant to be built on Route 145 has officially filed an appeal of a zoning amendment passed by the Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) in July that prohibits the proposed operations of the facility.

On July 30, the PZC unanimously passed a zoning amendment that prohibits “Commercial or industrial solid waste, construction, or demolition debris disposal, recycling, material transfer, or outdoor storage of materials not associated with a retail or contractor business” in zones including the I-2 zone overlaying the former Unilever warehouse site across the railroad tracks from the Founder’s Village condominium complex.

In a complaint filed in Middlesex Superior Court on Aug. 13, Old Post Road Realty, the owner of the proposed Shoreline Rail & Recycling (SRR) facility, alleges that the PZC engaged in spot zoning, and that the amendment runs in contradiction to the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development, among other complaints. The town is to respond in court on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

At the July 30 PZC hearing, Thomas Cronan, a lawyer retained by SRR, questioned the PZC about the amendment. Cronan submitted a letter to be read into the record that contained several questions to the PZC, including when the commission came up with the proposed change, if any members of the commission had contact with members of the Board of Selectmen, and other questions. The PZC read the letter into the record but chose not to respond to the questions, which is noted in the complaint.

Several of Cronan’s questions focused on when exactly the PZC decided to pursue the amendment. At the July 30 meeting, PZC chairman Michael Rossi said earlier in the spring he asked John Guszkowski, the town’s consultant planner, to draft the zoning changes because he felt the use category wasn’t defined in the current regulations.

In spring 2018, the application by SRR to build a waste recycling plant drew intense public opposition. The proposed facility would have been 94,500 square feet at 30 Old Post Road off of Route 145. According to George Andrews of Louriero Engineering Associates, a company that had represented SRR in front of the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC), the proposed facility would have been for storing waste composed of “construction and demolition debris.”

SRR decided to withdraw its application in May, after several member of the IWC indicated they were leaning toward voting “No” on the application at the commission’s next meeting. In June, SRR submitted a new application before the IWC, only to once again withdraw the application in early August, after the PZC passed the zoning amendment. At three public hearings on the proposal in the spring, no member of the public spoke in favor of the application.