The Northborough Conservation Commission on Monday night voted unanimously to exercise its right to bring in a consultant in a case involving Whitney Realty Trust.
Owned by Santo Anza, he now wants to develop land across from 429 Whitney St., which is called SA Farm. neighbors and residents maintain that SA Farm is a front for an illegal composting business.
To a packed and disappointed room (which included two residents who taped the event), Chairman Wayne Baldelli announced the decision to bring in a consultant to determine the feasibility and legality of developing the land across from Whitney Street. The Conservation Decision also announced there would be no public hearing on the issue that night, as previously planned.
"We have a right to hire a consultant to do the evaluations and whatnot," said Baldelli, "and we feel that we don’t want to open the meeting because we need the consultant's input. We are going to be continuing the meeting, but we are not opening it for discussion. Due to the size of the project and the nature of the project, and the background, we are excercising our right to hire an outside consultant at the applicant's cost and get a handle on the project and proceed from there. We will make changes on how we will monitor it and that will be up to us to decide."
Anza's lawyers agreed to the consultant, CEA (Corporate Environmental Advisors of West Boylston), which will be paid for by Anza, who was not present at the commission meeting.
The commission expects that the study would be ready for the next meeting, scheduled for Oct. 17.
Whitney Realty Trust has already been issued a and the Zoning Board of Appeals is presently working to "upgrade" the order and strengthen its wording. The order states that Anza not be allowed to bring in any more fill to his land, but neighbors brought mounds of evidence to the previous ZBA meeting to the contrary.
Linda Sabel, who attended the Conservation Commission meeting, was happy with the decision.
"I thought the decision was finally the right decision the board should take in looking closer before any permits are made available," said Sabel. "Our hopes as a neighborhood is that his business is shut down. I wish the town would enforce the reguations, cite him or fine him for violating any regulations. I live on Newton street and the stench from the refuse is so unbearable that I have to shut my windows."