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The Official ZBA Decision on SA Farm

The Northborough Zoning Board of Appeals released its official, documented, decision regarding 429 Whitney Street Realty Trust and SA Farm.

Following this case for nearly a year, neighbors on and around Whitney Street in Northborough are pleased at as well as the against what they deem as an illegal dumping ground operated by Santo Anza.

Below is the official decision of the ZBA as released by the town.

ZBA CASES NO.fl-18
PROPERTY LOCATIONS: 429 Whitney Street
PETITIONER & PROPERTY OWNER: 429 Whitney Street Realty Trust and S.A. Farm, IlL

This document is the DECISION of the Northborough Zoning Board of Appeals on the petition of 429 Whitney Street Realty Trust and S.A. Farm, LLC, for an Appeal of the Cease and Desist Order issued by the Building Inspector on July 15, 2011, ordering the Petitioner to stop the use of an unlicensed compost or solid waste facility, and prohibiting any further importation of food and paper waste onto the property located at 429 Whitney Street, GIS Map 15 Parcel 9.

APPLICATION

1. On July 19, 2011 the Appellant Santo Anza, Trustee, 429 Whitney Street Realty Trust and S.A Farm, LLC, filed with the Town Clerk an Application for Hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals for an Appeal of the Cease and Desist Order issued by the Building Inspector on July 15, 2011, ordering the
Petitioner to stop the use of an unlicensed compost or solid waste facility, and prohibiting any further importation of food and paper waste onto the property located at 429 Whitney Street, per Section 7-03-030B(3) of the Northborough Zoning Bylaw.

2. Notice of the public hearing was duly published in “THE WORCESTER TELEGRAM & GAZETTE” on Aug. 8, 2011 and Aug. 15, 2011, and was mailed to abutters and other parties in interest on July 28, 2011.

EXHIBITS

Submitted for the Board’s deliberation were the following exhibits:

1. Application for Hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals, including:

A. A letter from William S. Farnsworth, Jr., Inspector of Buildings/Zoning Enforcement Officer, to Mr. Santo Anza, Trustee, 429 Whitney Street Realty Trust, dated July 15, 2011, Re: 429 Whitney Street, identified as “EXHIBIT ONE”;.

B. A document entitled “D. APPEAL 1. State the specifics of the appeal”, dated July 19, 2011, signed by Santo Anza;

C. A Massachusetts Quitclaim Deed for 429 Whitney Street, recorded at the Worcester District Registry of Deeds on 08/11/2009, Bk: 44712 Pg: 111;

D. A certified abutters list for parcels 300 feet from 429 Whitney Street, including a cover sheet signed by Susan M. Reagan, for the Town of Northborough Board of Assessors, dated April 8, 2011 and a portion of a black and white Assessors map with parcels outlined in black;

2. A letter from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to Santo Anza, Manager, S.A. Farms, LLC, dated July 25, 2011, RE: 2011 Agricultural Composting Registration;

3. A 58-page packet of email messages, including photographs, sent from Diana Woodruff on various dates to Andrea Briggs, DEP, submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals by Diana Woodruff at their meeting on August 23, 2011; and

4. Two color photos and a hand-written note from Howie Stone submitted to Chairman Richard Rand on Aug. 23, 2011.

HEARING

Neither the Appellant, Santo Anza, Trustee, 429 Whitney Street Realty Trust and S.A. Farm, LLC, or any person representing the Appellant, was present at the duly noticed public hearing of the Board for this Application on Aug. 23, 2011, held in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room of the Northborough Town Hall,
Northborough, MA. Members Richard Rand, Mark Rutan, Richard Kane, Chan Byun and Craig Gugger were present throughout the proceedings.

By 7:10 p.m. the Appellant had not arrived at the meeting. No request for a continuance of the hearing had been received by the Zoning Board of Appeals prior to the meeting. At the request of Chairman Richard Rand, Kathy Joubert, Town Planner, and Katharine Doyle, Town Counsel, the Appellant was contacted by telephone by Debbie Grampietro, Administrative Assistant to the Zoning Board of Appeals, for the purpose of determining from him whether or not he planned to attend the meeting. A person identifying herself as the Appellant’s wife told Ms. Grampietro that Mr. Anza was not going to attend
the meeting. In a voice message left on the Planning Office’s telephone line by a person identifying himself as Bill Mason, Attorney for the Appellant, at 7:22 p.m. on Aug. 23, 2011, and retrieved by Ms. Grampietro at approximately 7:50 p.m. on Aug. 23, 2011, Mr. Mason stated “we are dropping the Appeal." Ms. Grampietro then relayed Mr. Mason’s message to Ms. Joubert in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room.

Many abutters and parties in interest were present at the meeting and encouraged the Zoning Board of Appeals to uphold the Cease & Desist Order issued to the Appellant by the Building Inspector on July 15, 2011. They stated they were concerned with the extreme odor from the compost area on the site, noise coming from equipment on the site and noise from trucks that are dumping materials on the site, including garbage and paper products. They were also concerned with pests being generated by the site.

Area residents described the odor from the site to be so strong that it prevented them from going outside or keeping their windows open. Some described it as sickening, with one resident stating that it nauseated her and she remained nauseated after she left the area for a few hours. They also questioned
the Appellant’s claim that the site is being used for agricultural purposes. Several abutters stated they would like the compost to be removed from the site.

Katharine Doyle, Town Counsel, stated the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is concerned that the odor will worsen if the Board was to order the removal of the compost.

Gina Babcock, 22 Coolidge Circle, stated the neighborhood would be OK with the odor associated with removal of the compost.

The hearing was closed on August 23, 2011.

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. Neither the Appellant, nor any person representing the Appellant, was present at the meeting, and the Zoning Board of Appeals received no correspondence from the Appellant previous to the Aug. 23, 2011 meeting requesting a continuance of the hearing to a future meeting date.

2. In the decision issued for ZBA Case No. 11-06, Item #1 under “DECISION” states “At their meeting on May 24, 2011, the Board voted unanimously to uphold a Cease and Desist Order issued to Santo Anza, Trustee, Manager of S.A. Farm, LLC, on March 2, 2011, ordering Mr. Anza to cease importing fill to the property located at 429 Whitney Street but permitting the property owner to regrade the property with materials already on said property to stabilize and make safe existing grades on the Site, per Section 7-03-0308(3) of the Northborough Zoning Bylaw.

3. In the decision issued for ZBA Case No. 11-06, Item #3 under “DECISION” states “the property owner shall keep dust noise and odor created by the regrading to a minimum.”

4. In a letter from William S. Farnsworth, Jr., Inspector of Buildings/Zoning Enforcement Officer, to Mr. Santo Anza, Trustee, 429 Whitney Street Realty Trust, dated July 15, 2011, Re: 429 Whitney Street, Mr. Farnsworth states he has received information that Mr. Anza is depositing large quantities of
food and paper waste onto the property known as 429 Whitney St., Northborough, Massachusetts.

5. In a letter from William S. Farnsworth, Jr., Inspector of Buildings/Zoning Enforcement Officer, to Mr. Santo Anza, Trustee, 429 Whitney Street Realty Trust, dated July 15, 2011, Re: 429 Whitney Street, Mr. Farnsworth states he received a copy of a letter dated June 30, 2011 from the Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) stating that DEP employees observed that Mr. Anza is operating an unauthorized compost facility on the property linked to nuisance conditions off-site. Mr. Farnsworth also states in said letter that he recently visited the property and also observed large piles of waste
or compost on the property.

6. In a letter from William S. Farnsworth, Jr., lnspector of Buildings/Zoning Enforcement Officer, to Mr. Santo Anza, Trustee, 429 Whitney Street Realty Trust, dated July 15, 2011, Re: 429 Whitney Street, and pursuant to. Sections 7-02-030 and 7-05-010(A) of the Northborough Zoning Bylaw, Mr.
Farnsworth ordered the Appellant to “CEASE AND DESIST the use of the Property as an unlicensed compost or solid waste facility IMMEDIATELY.” In addition, Mr. Farnsworth stated “Further importation of food and paper waste onto this Property may result in the Town filing legal action against you and seeking injunctive relieffor the immediate cessation of such use. The Town will also
request a Court Order for the reimbursement of attorneys fees and costs of such enforcement action.”

7. In a letter from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to Santo Anza, Manager, S.A. Farms, LLC, dated July 25, 2011, RE: 2011 Agricultural Composting Registration, Nathan W. LeEtoile, Assistant Commissioner, states “In light or our observations at your site, our determination that the management of your operation is not consistent with either your initial application for Registration or with the Department’s Agricultural Composting Guidelines, your continued operation beyond the termination of the temporary Registration issued by the Department and your disregard for directions and orders from the Animal Health Division. Related to
your animal management practices, the Department has determined that it is not in the best interests of Massachusetts agriculture to renew your Registration in accordance with 330 CMI 25.06.”

DECISION

1. At their meeting on Sept. 6, 2011, the Board voted unanimously to support the Zoning Enforcement Officer’s interpretation of Sections 7-02-030 and 7-05-010(A) of the Northborough Zoning Bylaw, and uphold the Zoning Enforcement Officer’s Cease and Desist Order issued on July 15, 2011.

2. The Board further voted, pursuantto its authority under CL. c.40A sec. 14, to order the property owner to remove all solid waste, as defined in 310 CMR 16.02, from the Site, including all food waste, vegetable waste, cardboard waste and yard waste, to a solid waste management facility, as defined in 310 CMR 16.02, using generally accepted practices in the solid waste industry for odor
control to prevent, to the maximum extent possible, the emission of odor from the Site during the removal process. All solid waste is to be removed from the Site within 45 days of the date of this decision and the property owner is to file documentation with the Building Inspector demonstrating that he has complied with the Board’s order, including identification of any and all solid waste management facilities to which the solid waste has been delivered.

3. Appeals, if any from this decision shall be made pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 40A, Sec. 17 and shall be filed withi.n twenty (20) days after the date of filing of this decision in the office of the Town Clerk.

TOWN OF NORTHBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

Carmen Hooke October 10, 2011 at 05:55 PM
This sounds like an OFFICIAL witch hunt. You should be ashamed of yourselves!
Jonathan Robbins October 21, 2011 at 11:31 AM
Now Anza is doing the same thing over in Berlin...Stayed tuned...Who is Carmen Hooke ?
AG October 21, 2011 at 06:48 PM
The SA Farm was basically given a free hand without any valid oversight by our Zoning Board and with less oversight by our Board of Selectmen, collectively. Just because the laws don't cover all variations of land occupation it doesnt mean that our oversight should end there. The people of Coolidge Cicle are now suffering for this with substantially lower property values and a faulty abutter syndrome for years to come. I think that they initially influenced the zoning change from light industrial to farmland. Isnt one of the members of the zoning board a resident at CC?
James M November 18, 2011 at 09:22 PM
Yeah, I walked by the property via the rail tracks and it a huge dump. I can't believe this has been going on for so long. Now will the property ever get cleaned up? I doubt it. I can't believe how some people have no concern for the environment. makes me sick to see what they've done to the property on Whitney Street

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