Wilton zoning board: Regional impact of proposed asphalt plant will be considered

  • Patricia Quaglia of Wilton, Sandy Gallo of Wilton and Susan Brown of Lyndeborough carry signs protesting a proposed asphalt plant.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/11/2019 5:57:21 PM

Hearings on a proposed asphalt plant in Wilton will have to start anew, the Wilton Zoning Board of Adjustment said Tuesday night after the board ruled the project may have regional impacts.

An asphalt production plant and a storage silo is proposed to be built by Jim Quinn on Quinn Road, on the same property as a quarry, also owned by Quinn. 

The zoning board began a series of public hearings in July on a variance asking to build above the height limit for the industrial zone for both buildings. In Wilton’s industrial zone, buildings have a height limit of 45-feet. The asphalt batch plant, which would manufacture and sell bituminous asphalt, is proposed to be 68-feet high, and the storage silo would be 72-feet high.

Wilton approved plans for an asphalt plant on the property in the 1980s, but that plant was never built, and the permits expired. 

However, testimony the board has already gathered on the matter at the July public hearings has been scrapped, and the board plans to start over, this time allowing input from residents of surrounding towns.

“When the board considers a case, it’s supposed to consider whether the proposal has a regional impact,” zoning board chairman Neil Faiman said in an interview Wednesday. “The board had not done that previously with regard to the proposed asphalt plant, and that’s what we did last night.”

Faiman said the state law governing what constitutes a “regional impact” is broad. As the Quinn property abuts the Lyndeborough/Wilton town line, Faiman said, the board found there was sufficient cause to restart the process with regional notification.

“With what we do and don’t know about the proposal at this point, it might have emissions or nuisance effects impacting other towns,” Faiman said.

Though Lyndeborough is the most obvious town which could be impacted, Faiman said the board would be posting notices in all the towns sharing a border with Wilton.

The board voted unanimously that the project had potential regional impacts.

Despite not taking any testimony on Tuesday, the Town Hall courtroom, which has a room capacity of 70 people, was past capacity, with some residents having to wait in the hallway. Faiman said the board would secure a room with more capacity for future hearings.

Susan Brown of Lyndeborough attended Tuesday’s meeting, and said afterward she was glad the board had taken into account impacts beyond Wilton’s borders. She and her husband own two properties, one their primary residence, and the other a family farm which doubles as her husband’s artist studio.

“We’re in Lyndeborough, but it’s very close to us,” Brown said. “I live in close proximity, so I’m glad they’re engaging all the towns.”

Other residents also said they were there to voice their concern, despite the zoning board hearing being limited to the issue of the height of the buildings.

Sandy Gallo, a resident of Holt Road, said she only recently bought her property, and one of its most attractive features was the proximity to Stony Brook. She even calls her property “Rushing Water” in honor of the stream. She’s concerned about water contamination, she said.

Patricia Quaglia also attended Tuesday’s meeting. She’s concerned about the impact to Goss Park, a summer park and swimming area used by both Wilton and Lyndeborough residents, which is located only a short distance from the proposed plant.

“I’m very worried about the smell. I don’t want to breathe it,” Quaglia said.

If the zoning board approves the height variance, the proposed asphalt plant will still have to go through a site plan review process with the Planning Board, during which residents would be able to speak to concerns about issues such as noise, odor, and emissions.

The zoning board hearing on the requested variances will be re-noticed in both Wilton and surrounding towns and has been scheduled for Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. A location will be posted on the town website once it has been secured

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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