Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Company Bans Six From Premises

WINCHESTER — Tension continues to build concerning a recently opened asphalt plant on the Winchester-Swanzey border.

In the latest sign of the deteriorating relationship between Mitchell Sand and Gravel, the plant’s owner, and residents who have objected to the facility, Mitchell’s attorney recently sent “no trespass” notices to a number of asphalt plant opponents.

The letters were a reaction to photos presented during a recent compliance hearing held for the plant by the Winchester Planning Board, according to Kevin D. Parsons, the Massachusetts attorney who sent the letters on Mitchell’s behalf.

Some of the photos, he said, demonstrated that someone had entered the gravel pit where the plant is located without permission. ( this is a commercial business is it not ? )

“Unauthorized people should not be going on other people’s property and some of these folks have,” he said.
 ( so where is his proof to back up that statement? )

The photos were submitted to the town’s code enforcement officer by State Rep. Daniel P. Carr, D-Winchester, and presented at the hearing by Michael Towne, who lives across from the plant on Route 10, Parsons said.

( Mr. Towne did not submit photos at the Compliance Hearing, he instead submitted a letter to the board on behalf of the residents of Winchester and Swanzey requesting that the Town's Code Enforcement Officer be present at the hearing to clarify his reports to the board and answer any questions. Mr Towne's letter to the board was ignored and never read before the board or public at the hearing.)

The letters warn that “failure to comply with this notice may result in your arrest.”

They were sent to not only Carr and Towne but other Winchester and Swanzey residents who have objected to the plant since before the town’s planning board approved its construction in the agricultural district in January.

Parsons sent six letters, he said.

 ( Including letters to a Swanzey Selectman and Winchester's Code Enforcement Officer banning them as well )

“We don’t know who was on the property, we don’t know who took the photos. But it’s clearly someone in the group that’s doing it,” Parsons said.

Towne was surprised by the letter, he said, because has never been on the plant property and has only taken photos of stack emissions that he can see from his yard.

“If they’re doing everything legit, wouldn’t they welcome the public onto the property to see that everything is on the up and up?” he said.

The plant began operating intermittently in late August, and neighbors quickly began complaining that truck noise and chemical smells were detracting from their quality of life.
( along with the constant sound of the rock crusher, backup beepers, slamming tailgates and a portable hydraulic jack hammer hammering away drilling blasting holes all day long )

“They’re worried about the water quality, and their air quality does bear a lot of noxious fumes and dust that were not there before,” said State Rep. Jane B. Johnson, R-Swanzey, who has taken an interest in the matter at the request of constituents.

Johnson contacted Gov. John H. Lynch about the plant, she said, and he advised her that the conditions of the plant’s temporary operating permit were within state laws.

As a state representative, she is thinking of encouraging a review of environmental regulations and how they compare to neighboring states’, she said.

“New Hampshire needs to make sure that its laws are such that companies can’t just come in here and get away with things that they can’t get away with in other states,” Johnson said.

Meanwhile, Towne, an avid bird watcher who reports there have been no birds in his yard since the plant first fired up, continues to keep an eye on the operation — from across the street.


Anonymous said...

What can this Mitchell possibly be doing that he would attempt to ban Leroy and Swanzey Selectmen from viewing his operation, sounds awful fishy to me.

Anonymous said...

Anyone traveling on route 10 this morning in the vicinity of the plant will clearly experience the strong stench of fuel oil, diesel and propane blanketing the area from Combs Bridge Road to past the Swanzey trailer park. This stink is coming from the pit and is very strong. I had to roll up my car windows it stunk so bad.

Anonymous said...

Didnt know propane was involved in asphalt production. If you cant smell asphalt oil, very distinct smell, could this be coming from another business that has a number of trucks?

I betcha there is an underground bunker on location with illegal immigrants fleeing New Jersey.

Mike Towne said...

There's a lot you don't know about this whole situation though you are quick to ridicule others with your vast untapped knowledge.

The propane smell comes from the generator they use to run the portable drilling equipment and rock crusher that they use for drilling blasting holes on the property and then for crushing up the large chunks of stone for transport back down to Massachusetts for sale. It is unfetted and adds to the fuel oil stink and diesel exhaust fumes coming from the pit each and every day, from early morning until they quit for the day. These smells collect in the bowl they have created on site then blow directly over the Westport Village area when the wind comes up. Mitchell also owns the pit so it is his responsibility to be sure he's in compliance with the town's directives in regards to this operation too and he's not. Our own Code Enforcement Officer has witnessed this himself and has reported to the BOS who continues to turn a blind eye. It's obvious that you are someone who's knowledge of what is exactly going on out here in this area can be stuffed into a thimble.

As for your juvenile other comment I can't provide you an answer to that.

just wondering said...

Funny how most of the derogatory comments come during the hours our town hall is open. Coincidence or are the town's employees going on line while they are suppose to be working?

the Winchester Informer said...

* note to "Smokin' Joe"

We didn't publish your derogatory remarks or your attack on Mr. Towne. for obvious reasons. Please read his comments carefully as he stated the use of propane was for the generator, not the equipment being used. Maybe you should smoke less and read more so you have a full grasp of what people are saying.

Anonymous said...

I was traveling down the road heading for Hinsdale the other day. Went by a farm. Boy did it stink. They are polluting my water with cow crap being spread on the fields.

Judy said...


So very juvenile of some to ridicule and think they are funny. This shows the mentality of those who support the decisions of certain people we have in power. Typical of the mentality of a small group of disruptive posters who come on here.
We are not fooled on bit.

Rich said...

I called the town hall and spoke to Leroy Austin personally and asked and he said that he did receive this notice forbidding him to trespass on that property but also told me he spoke with our town attorney and that it had been lifted so he can inspect the plant and complaints he has been saving. Go ahead and call him yourself, he'll tell you that Mr. Towne is telling the truth.