Framingham Selectmen charged with forming a task force to investigate resident complaints that an apparent asphalt grinding operation is operating illegally off of Meadow Street in the vicinity of Riverpath Road.
selectmen requested a report be ready for its Sept 13 meeting.
The action came after Jim Stewart, an Old Connecticut Path resident and neighbor of the operation, presented to Selectmen a detailed and comprehensive report on the conditions of the site and photographs that showed apparent violation of zoning ordinances.
Stewart urged the Selectmen to take action and said asphalt dust, petroleum-based chemicals and mountains of rubble and earth from construction sites around town do not have a place in a residential neighborhood.
“I’m asking for the Selectmen’s help in cleaning up this area off Old Connecticut Path,” said Stewart. The operation, , “Should be closed down and moved some where else and that's what we're asking you to do tonight.”
The bolstered Stewart’s request when Chairman Mike Hugo told Selectmen, “If it (the Ellingwood operation) is affecting the public health of the town, we will step in. This is a fresh complaint and we will be addressing the issue.”
Framingham Board of Health has the authority to shut down any situation that it deems would jeopardize the health of residents.
Selectman Dennis Giombetti called for the task force and suggested it be comprised of health, legal, zoning and building representatives from the town and neighborhood representatives. “Develop a plan and bring back it to the board to see what can be done.”
The gravity of the situation was emphasized by Selectman Charlie Sisitsky who said, “I don’t understand how this can happen without the town knowing about it. We owe the neighborhood an apology.” Sisitsky further said it appeared to him that Ellingwood is operating a “hazardous materials recycling center.”
Of further concern to the Selectmen is the proximity of the Ellingwood operation to Birch Road wells and a long-standing Planned Unit Development zone. The town is working on a long-term plan to open the wells and have them serve as possible water supply if homes are ever built in the PUD.
Stewart brought up another issue concerning Ellingwood – why the state Department of Environmental Protection allows the construction business to operate on what was a dairy farm in a zone designated for single-family homes.
Hugo said the Board of Health has looked into previous complaints from neighbors and has ruled that the conditions at the site need to be changed. He told the Selectmen that the Board of Health and DEP are engaged in an enforcement initiative in an attempt to rectify numerous health and safety concerns.