By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — The Planning Board denied a request last week to rehear a controversial Dumpster Depot plan, but opponents of the Ashleigh Drive facility continue to fight.
Residents against the approved plan at 41 Ashleigh Drive came before the board last week to say why they don’t want the facility in their backyard, hoping the board might reconsider its decision to approve the plan.
But the board stood firm.
The Planning Board gave the project conditional approval on Aug. 21 by a vote of 5-2, but those living nearby the proposed 7,200-square-foot facility said things were done incorrectly throughout the process.
Concerned residents and abutters have been outspoken in their opposition to the proposal.
Greenwich Road resident Brenda Wilson gave a list of reasons why she believes the decision to conditionally approve was “unlawful, illegal and unreasonable.”
Wilson said the conditions attached to the approval process were changed between the date a meeting in June and final approval in August.
“I was shocked on Aug. 21,” she said. “All the conditions were changed.”
Conditions attached to the plan included an updated landscaping plan, no fueling on site, revised hours of operation, no Dumpster washing on site, annual rodent and mosquito control measures, and only empty Dumpsters allowed on site, with the exception of a 24-hour stay during the weekdays and a 36-hour stay on the weekends in the event that is needed. Dumpsters must remain covered, on the truck and be parked under a canopy on site.
One conditional sticking point is the fact that full Dumpsters may be allowed to be on the property. Wilson said that information changed between June and August.
She said planners also gave the applicant, David Paul, another chance to plead his case in August, but did not accept any other public input.
“That was wrong and unethical,” Wilson said. “The applicant addressed new issues, but the abutters were not allowed the same right.”
Conservation Commission member Paul Doolittle said he believes the applicant lied to his group.
Doolittle said the Conservation Commission approved the plan in May, but were told at that time that all Dumpsters coming back to the facility would be empty.
“We were told they (the Dumpsters) would be empty and were not told of the changes made on Aug. 21,” Doolittle said. “The client lied to us if this is where they were going.”
Planning Board member Randy Chase said the board did everything right.
“I think the board gave more than due consideration to this plan,” he said.
It wasn’t just the Planning Board hearing complaints from abutters. Dozens of residents also took their case before the Town Council last week.
Many stood up from their seats to show solidarity against the Dumpster Depot plan.
“The neighborhood and community where I reside have nothing to gain and everything to lose by accepting this deplorable business in our backyard,” said Dave Fischer, a Donmac Drive resident. “We adamantly disagree with this and contend that this business falls under prohibited uses.”
Fischer also said the original conditions agreed upon in June were “changed and ignored” by the Planning Board at the meeting in August.
“The new and revised conditions that they agreed to and supported by a vote of 5-2 are totally unacceptable, not only to the abutters, but hundreds of other Derry citizens as well,” he said. “It was one-sided and unfair, and I believe unlawful as well.”
Now that the Planning Board denied a rehearing, the next step is a Zoning Board appeal that will be heard at a meeting Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.
Planning Board member and abutter John O’Connor will present his appeal to an administrative decision by the town’s code enforcement officer, saying Dumpster Depot was a permitted use in the Industrial III zone.
As an abutter, O’Connor has stepped down from all discussion and voting on the Dumpster Depot plan. He supports the appeal process.