Thursday night, after a four-month long public hearing, the Conservation Commission began its deliberations on a proposal by Kobyluck Brothers LLC
The commission has until May 31 to either approve or reject the controversial application, which has inspired dozens of people to go to the public hearing and speak against the plans. Kobyluck originally submitted plans in 2010, but later and resubmit again this winter after it made several revisions.
The public hearing spanned over five nights – one that lasted past 2 a.m. – where the commission heard testimony from Kobyluck’s engineers, engineers hired from residents who oppose the development, a third-party engineering firm brought on by the town and the town's staff, most commonly Environmental Planner Maureen Fitzgerald. Now that the hearing is closed, the commission can hear no more testimony and can only use town staff for clarification or to provide them with information submitted into the record, including audio recordings from the hearing.
Neighbors argue that the plan will impact Jordan Brook, a wetland that runs through 28 Industrial Drive. Kobyluck and his engineers maintain that they will be able to handle storm water runoff without allowing sediment-laden water to run into Jordan Brook and the property’s wetlands.
Summary of the Proposal
Kobyluck is proposing to install a stone processing facility at the site. The end goal is to have a processing plant with rock crushers where stone will be brought in from off-site and then turned into rock materials to be used in construction.
However, to build the processing facility, Kobyluck has to flatten the property by excavating through five acres of stone more than 50 feet deep. The stone will be processed on site and then sold.
Kobyluck has said selling the stone, and thereby the excavation, will be market-driven, but he promised to complete all the work within five years. Much of the concern by the Conservation Commission is how storm water will be handled during the construction period.
Conservation Commission’s Role
The Conservation Commission is charged with protecting the town’s environment. Other aspects neighbors have brought up, such as the increased traffic from the site or the possible lowering of their property values, falls in the hands of the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Planning and Zoning Commission has also received Kobyluck’s application, and will make a decision after the Conservation Commission rules on it.
Thursday night, Fitzgerald explained the plan to the commission. The plan was revised three times during the public hearing to better accommodate storm water runoff, which also led to a reduction of the footprint of the facility from seven acres to five acres.
One thing the commission agreed on Thursday night was that the application had not changed so much it had to be withdrawn. The commission will now focus on what impacts the application might have on the town’s waterways, and if there are alternatives Kobyluck did not consider.
The group will likely have to meet several times before May 31 before rendering a decision. They agreed on Thursday to hold a special meeting on May 15 at 6:30 p.m. to continue its deliberation on the application.
Once the Conservation Commission makes a ruling on the property, the only way to appeal it is for the applicant or possibly the neighbors to take the town to court. Kobyluck owner Matt Kobyluck has already said he will take the town