A local developer’s plan to excavate a landfill in order to build two homes in its place has been put on hold by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
Residents driving along Independence Drive in Shelton over the past few weeks may have seen the large area filled with No Trespassing signs, dump trucks and large piles of dirt. The site is an old landfill that was used by BFGoodrich during the 1960s to dispose of rubber waste materials, more specifically sponge gaskets, according to David McKeegan of the Waste Engineering and Enforcement Division the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
The city’s P&Z sent out a notice of cease and desist to the project because of the amount of rubber waste that was found during the site’s excavation.
“We’re concerned that the project is much bigger than what was initially anticipated,” said P&Z enforcement officer Tom Dingle. “There is three times as much rubber material found on the site that needs to be disposed of.”
Dingle said his department mailed a notice to the developer, Roger Spinelli, notifying him that the development process is to temporarily come to a stop until the company that will be transporting the waste removed from the site submits the necessary paperwork stating its plan.
“We’re not going to let them start building the houses until we can assure that there’s a plan for getting rid of the material,” said Dingle. “We need to get this going because we’ve been getting calls asking what’s going on and saying that the property is ugly.”
Conservation Commission Chairman Tom Harbinson said the commission knew the project would take place eventually and was concerned about the runoff that would come off the site, since there’s no cover on the land.
According to Dingle, the company is planning to dispose of the rubber waste at a site in Canada, but has yet to submit paperwork that would grant it permission. He added that the company planned to bring in a shredder to help compact the waste before transporting it across the border, but that hasn’t happened yet.
McKeegan said BFGoodrich’s use of the site predates the existence of the DEEP, but that the discovery of more rubber material than anticipated was a surprise to his department, the city’s P&Z, and the developer.
Spinelli wants to build two homes, so the P&Z doesn’t want the project to stall, but Dingle said before the project continues he has to address several issues with the property.
“He has to correct the soil and erosion fences to make sure the dirt that’s piled doesn’t leave the property,” said Dingle. “He’s also going to have to pump out the water to fill in the hole with solid material.”