By RANDY PELLIS
NEW HAVEN – The possible approval of a proposed cement plant within the town of New Haven has a contingent of the town in an uproar worried over the future of the lifestyle they chose New Haven for, a Planning Board in a no-win political situation, and a man investing nearly $3 million frustrated over the level of, in his opinion, the misunderstanding of his project and the intensity of opposition to it that he never expected.
Cindy Konu lives two houses down to the north of the plant. She and her husband built their home here 18 years ago and have owned the property for 30 years. She strongly opposes construction of the cement plant.
In a recent letter to the town’s Planning Board, Konu wrote: “Sadly, it has become obvious that the town of New Haven government is not working for the good nor the wellbeing of the residents that live here. After attending board meetings, numerous letters and emails, even petitions given to the town to show that we are strongly opposed to this hazardous industry in our neighborhood, the plant is being allowed to set up. There is proof of improper procedures on the town’s part as well as the plant’s. We all have chosen this quiet, rural, woodsy area to live our lifestyles in, yet New Haven town officials have taken it upon themselves to overlook their duties.
“The applicant (Jason Simmons) touts the financial investment in this project and benefits for the town,” Konu continues. “The investment in the town is a false narrative. Given the incompatible nature and intensity of the project with the surrounding area and reasonable likelihood of significant adverse environmental impacts, surrounding property values will drop, lowering the town tax base and undercutting any actual investment in the town. Applicants should provide a real estate analysis, an independent third-party real estate appraiser to demonstrate that the project will not negatively impact property values.
“We concerned neighbors request the powers of New Haven to listen to your citizens and put a stop to this project.”
In a recent interview, Konu expanded on her thoughts on the plant.
“According to New York state, this industry should not be here,” she said. “They’re up and running, and they still don’t have any approval or building permits. Here’s this gentleman who constantly is changing what he’s doing, and the town just doesn’t stop him. We people who are opposed to this, we want business in our town, but you shouldn’t wake up one day and have an industry in the middle of residential. I feel this is not right, and the town should uphold the law, do their job, a stop work order came way too late, and the guy keeps operating.
“It’s just not right that this is going on. Our town took 11 months to go over, tooth and nail, for a solar farm. And then this guy comes along at the end of January, puts an application in. He attended the February meeting. Honestly, it sounded like he thought he was going to get approval. There’s so much more that he should have been doing. He should have started a year ago. But, it’s almost like as soon as he saw that neighbors weren’t happy with it, and he never spoke to any of those that lived right there, then he hurried up and did what he did. He got the plant in on the 12th, and by Monday morning, we could hear, you know, it was almost erected. He did not do the work that he should have done before he decided to open up a concrete plant.”
Konu said she has never spoken with Simmons.
“He knows where we all live,” she said. “He could come to our door.”
And she worries Simmons won’t make good on the promises he’s made.
“The things that he said to the town, that he wanted to be a good neighbor, he wanted to work with the town, it is quite evident that it’s just talk. He doesn’t follow through with any of that,” she said.
“To me, the way this has been presented to the town, it just keeps changing and evolving, and from what I have seen from other states, this is what happens. These little towns let it get started, and five years later, it’s not the same thing, and you’ve got a lot of environmental issues that now aren’t going to be addressed.”
Simmons has said he will enclose the entire plant, except for the top half of the plant’s silo, inside a pole barn he intends to build within a year. His trucks will be loaded with cement within it. The aggregate will be dumped into the hopper within it. He said he is under no legal requirement to do so but will enclose the plant to reduce noise for the nearby neighbors. For the most part, he said, the main thing neighbors will see from then on is a pole barn.
“So, again,” Konu said, “it is something more that was talked about, but there’s a lot more detail left out, and there’s nothing in writing, nothing legal, nothing binding. It’s like they’re thinking things through as they’re coming along with it, but it’s not in place, and there’s no time limit.
“But, he still, without proper approval, he’s gone ahead and put it up anyway, instead of waiting until he had approval, or thought it through, and said, OK, we need to put a building up.”
Konu’s opinion of the Planning Board isn’t much higher.
“We’re in the dark with the Planning Board and the Town Board,” she said, “and we’re the ones that are paying taxes and trying to live there. With this business coming in, we have no idea. It just seems like it’s been one thing after another, not completely planned out and not thought ahead. So, when you look at other places and other states that have health issues, have environmental issues, down the road, five to ten years later, now they try to get these plants shut down when they shouldn’t have made them able to be there to start with, or, they should have had a lot more thought in planning and preparation ahead of time. But this seems just to have been rammed down the town’s throat and not clearly thought out all the way. It’s really sad that these things can go on.”
And in response to the town’s inaction and Simmons’ continued progress, she said, “People, they’re sick of trying to be nice. They’re going for blood. There are laws that are supposed to be protecting us, and they’re not being followed.”
Other residents of Darrow Road or its immediate vicinity oppose the Jason Simmons cement plant. And for the most part, the objections of those residents fall into very similar categories: noise, traffic, potential pollution, decrease in property values, the contention that present town laws prohibit the construction of such a plant and are not being enforced, general objections to an industrial site in a residential area, and lastly, general objections to the speed of the application, its lack of certain specifics, and the erection of the plant prior to receiving final approval from the Planning Board.
Fred Ringwald, of Darrow Road, opposes the plant, and, in a letter to the Planning Board, offered up another consideration regarding New Haven’s lack of an official zoning law and the town’s intention to create one.
“Since you are working on an overall New Haven Zoning Plan or equivalent,” he wrote, “I strongly urge you to delay a decision on the Jason Simmons Site Plan until after you have completed your work on the Zoning Plan or equivalent. The reason I urge this delay is because approving it prior to finalizing the Zoning Plan or equivalent has two potential adverse consequences. Either your final plan would be affected by your prior approval of the Jason Simmons Site Plan, compromising the overall efficacy of the Zoning Plan or equivalent; or your Zoning Plan or equivalent would show that it was a mistake for you to have approved the Jason Simmons Site Plan. Yes, it is also possible that your plan would not be impacted and the Jason Simmons Site Plan would be compatible with your final Zoning Plan or equivalent. However, it seems that this is unlikely. The wiser path would be to finalize the Zoning Plan or equivalent first, then consider the Jason Simmons Site Plan.”
This opinion jives somewhat with that of others who recommend the Planning Board call for a moratorium on industrial sites such as a cement plant with one major difference: a moratorium only stops future projects. It will not prevent Jason Simmons from completing his.
Andrew Merriam lives diagonally across Darrow Road from the cement plant. He is an architect who moved to New Haven with his wife and two children from Camillus for the much more rural environment New Haven offers.
“You may have guessed,” he said, “I’m completely against it. I have a lot of experience dealing with zoning codes and state laws and all of that, and this is a clear violation of a lot of different laws. The whole process has been completely, in my opinion, mishandled from the beginning by the town, and they have allowed this applicant, I’ll say, false hopes, of moving this thing forward. It’s very disturbing on how little our town has acted in response to the clear opposition by the town residents. We’re doing what we can to cite local laws that are legal laws, these aren’t things that somebody wrote on a napkin, they are laws, they are adopted by our governing body, and they’re just not being followed.
“I do agree. There is nothing in the town of New Haven that says this is zoning,” Merriam continued. “However if you read several of our local laws, they read a lot like zoning. They have the same exact language that you would see in zoning for the town of Dewitt or the city of Syracuse or any other jurisdiction. They have setbacks; they say what developments are allowed or not allowed, or if they are permitted, they have to follow certain guidelines. They have the same language. We keep getting hung up on the fact that New Haven doesn’t have ‘zoning’, but they have laws. They have a law that’s in place, it’s a local law, and it’s a zoning regulation. It really is. So, they keep saying that, but I don’t buy it. I’ve worked in towns that have very, very robust zoning. And I’ve worked with similar documents, and it’s all the same thing. It’s to govern the people. It’s to give them the intent of what the town should look and feel like. And our town has made it very clear in our local laws that industrial applications are not permitted. It’s clear as day. The problem is the town, as soon as the applicant presented this, should have denied it on the spot, day one. They should have cited the local law that says, sorry Mr. Simmons, but this is an industrial application. It doesn’t fit in this town per our local laws. And it would’ve gone away. He couldn’t have fought it. It’s clear as day. But they didn’t do that. They allowed it to proceed. They allowed it to build up a case, which is not a very strong one in my opinion, and now he’s completely erected this whole site. He’s putting in power and water today as we speak. So, he’s up, he’s running it, he’s making a ton of noise over there and a ton of mess, and the town has just turned a blind eye.”
Merriam contends Simmons has the advantage of money in this battle, and that, if he is denied by the Planning Board, he will “bury the town in legal fees until he gets what he wants.” Merriam worries that financial concern alone may cause the board to cave.
“The town already confirmed that they are seriously concerned with legal fees,” Merriam said, “and I’m willing to bet, they will push their ethics aside and pass this thing through to avoid what might be a $30,000-$50,000 legal battle.”
Merriam is focusing on two outcomes he would consider victories. His primary goal is denying Jason Simmons the Planning Board’s approval. In the event that doesn’t happen, his Plan B would be the removal of those on the Planning Board who gave Simmons the green light.
“We’re going to hold the town accountable,” Merriam said. “And if that means individuals lose their positions, then I’ll consider that a secondary win.”
In that vein, Merriam has asked New York State Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the town’s officials.
“The complaint that the citizens now have is that it seems as if the local officials are refusing to take action against this property owner due to potential personal gain from the project. It is the basis of this personal gain of the town officials that we would like to have investigated,” Merriam wrote in a form sent to the attorney general’s Public Integrity Bureau dated March 18.
“The town has been absolutely not transparent with the residents,” Merriam said in our interview. “We have asked just to tell us what you’re doing. I received a call from one of the town councilman, and he assured me he is doing stuff, but they haven’t told us what they’re doing. We don’t want to be attacking on two fronts. The residents would prefer to have the town’s backing, and we would work with the town. But they’re not clueing us in. We have no idea what avenues they’ve tried. We don’t even know if they’re on the same team. We don’t know if they would prefer it to be here, or if they would prefer it not to be here. We don’t know. We’re not getting any of that information from them. So, we’re forced to fight them and fight Mr. Simmons. And it’s terrible, it doesn’t need to be this way.”
Merriam then cited New Haven’s 2001 Local Law Number Two, Section 5.10, a local law claimed by a number of opponents to the cement plant as prohibiting its construction.
SECTION 5.10 - GENERAL STANDARDS
“The following general standards are hereby adopted for the control of uses for any commercial and industrial uses, and no such use shall be expanded, permitted, established, maintained or conducted which shall be likely to cause:
Excessive smoke, fumes, gas, dust, odor or any other atmospheric pollutant beyond the boundaries of the lot whereon such use is located. Smoke is excessive when the shade or appearance of such smoke is darker than No. 2 on the Ringleman Smoke Chart, published by the US Bureau of Mines.
Noise, perceptible beyond the boundaries of the lot occupied by such use causing the same.
Any pollution or discharge of any waste material whatsoever into any watercourse, open ditch or land surface.
Discharge of any waste material whatsoever into any sanitary disposal system or sewage system, except only in accordance with the rules and under the control of the public health authorities or public body controlling such sewage system. Any chemical or industrial waste, which places undue loads, as determined by the Town of New Haven or Oswego County Health Department, shall not be discharged into any municipal system and must be treated by the commercial or industrial use.
Storage or stocking of any waste materials that will be hazardous to the health, safety and welfare of the community without appropriate safeguards in place, as determined by the Planning Board.
Glare or vibration perceptible beyond the lot lines whereon such use is conducted.
Hazard to person or property by reason of fire, explosion, radiation or other cause.
Any other nuisance harmful to persons or property.”
In light of this local law, Merriam contends “Mr. Simmons cannot prove without a reasonable doubt that he will not have smoke, fumes, gas, dust, or odor. There’s no way. The process, for what he’s doing, will 100% result in those things. So, that one, right off the bat, not permitted. Noise. We have recorded 80+ decibels at a residence across the street from just the moving of dirt. His construction vehicles just moving dirt and erecting this thing: 80+ decibels. Now, when he throws rocks into this thing, or other materials, it’s going to be even louder. Pollution or any discharge of waste materials whatsoever, into any water course or open ditch. He has already violated this one when he ruptured a gas tank or fuel tank on the site. And it drained down into one of the ditches and ended up crossing the road into my waterway, on my property. Storage or stocking of any waste materials that would be hazardous to health. Now, waste materials that he may not have now but will have, admixtures, things that he adds to the cement to help with curing time, or stabilizing it, or winter conditions, all those things, those are hazardous. Or any other nuisance. The fact that he’s driving 100+ trucks up and down the road, is a nuisance. There’s six things in the town law that prevent the town from allowing this. I’ve cited this section to the town multiple times. And I’ve cited laws that help them get out of this. So, this no-zoning thing is total BS. It really is. That Section 5 is a zoning regulation. It really is. You can find something like this in any other zoning document in any other town.”
Merriam said he and other opponents of the plant “have reached out to the DEC, (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation) and the way the DEC looks at this is, it’s got to be a direct impact. I will say, Mr. Simmons has positioned where he’s put this thing correctly in effect that he is outside of what the DEC refers to as the hundred-foot impact of a wetland. So, he’s truly outside of that. There’s things he could do to mitigate spill in stormwater, but he hasn’t put any of those things in place. The DEC hasn’t stepped in like we thought they would. They’ve agreed to just work with Mr. Simmons to make it right.”
Looking ahead, Merriam is concerned what Planning Board approval of this cement plant could mean in the future.
“Year one this plant will probably be very nice,” he said. “Year two, they’re going to lessen up how often they change these (dust) filters. Year five, this is no longer a 2021 prime machine. It’s a five-year-old machine. And this is just the first one. I truly think his business will want to expand. Maybe he adds another one next year, or maybe he adds two more, or maybe he determines that if only that gravel were closer to me, I could make even more money, so he buys adjacent properties around here to get gravel closer. And all of a sudden, we’re starting out as this tiny little state of the art 2021 portable model, it’s a full-fledged huge factory. And that’s not where the town wants to go from everybody I’ve talked to. That’s not where they want to go. And they are allowing that to happen. Once you’ve let one of these guys in, you have officially set precedent for more like it. I don’t care what zoning you put in place, after they approve this, if they should approve it, they have set a precedent in the town of New Haven that allows this type of facility, and regardless what kind of zoning they put in place, you can prove precedent, and you will have legal ground forever to build more like this. They’ve got to just stop it. They’ve got to prevent that precedent. And they’ve got to fix it so it can’t actually happen. And they are, for whatever reason, not taking that stance as they should be. The town has the means to stop this, and they chose not to, or maybe they weren’t educated at the time to know that they could.”
In the end, Merriam is concerned this all may come down to money, and the opponents of this cement plant don’t have enough to put up a real fight. So, they are accepting donations for legal fees. To that end, Merriam has created a GoFundMe page.
“We’ve already hired (the law firm) Barclay Damon,” he said. “They helped us with preparing a letter to the town as it relates to the SEQR, which is the environmental impact. We racked up a little over a $3,000 bill just doing that first part. There’s been about a dozen of us that have come together to do this, but, you know, I think that’s not far enough. I think we’re going to need still more legal assistance. If people are passionate in the town and don’t want this here, we will gladly except the financial support. That way we can continue to fight this.”
To contribute, their GoFundMe page can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/town-of-new-haven-stop-the-plant?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1
At its March 24 meeting, the Planning Board voted to hold a Public Hearing on this entire matter on Wednesday, April 7. Jason Simmons is hoping for final approval at that time. His attorney, Kevin Caraccioli, sees that as a real possibility. He sees it that way because he is very confident the law is on Simmons’ side.
“There are a lot of misconceptions going around and misinformation,” Caraccioli said in a recent interview. “Mr. Simmons needs a site plan approval for the operation, and here’s another misconception. They all think that the site plan is zoning. It’s not. It is not zoning in the sense, or even in the notion, of what zoning is, which is the ability of a municipality to restrict specific uses within specific areas or districts or zones within a municipality, hence the word zoning. In the absence of zoning regulations, the community has already said, we will allow any use to be instituted, as long as all other New York State laws, environmental, and all the rest of it, are followed, we’re staying out of it. So the only thing that the town board did many years ago was adopt site plan regulations, which say, OK, if you’re going to use your property in a certain way, we’re not objecting to the use, but we do want to regulate how that use operates on your property. So in other words, setbacks and buffering and how much noise will it create, how much traffic will it create, and in creating those issues, how can we mitigate against any impacts to neighboring properties there might be. That’s what’s happening right now. I would submit, that the town board can’t deny my client the use of his property. They can only regulate how the property is going to be used once the concrete batch plant is in operation.
“That’s what is going on with the Planning Board,” he continued. “That’s what they have the right to do. And we have no problem with that. We’re cooperating with that. This is the misconception that a lot of folks have, that somehow if they scream and yell loud enough, the Board will just deny our client rightful use of his property. It can’t do that. All they can do is regulate the use.”
Caraccioli also feels the stop work order issued by town Code Enforcement Officer Ron Marsden is too vague to be enforceable. Marsden was called numerous times, during office hours, for clarification on this. He did not respond to any of the calls or messages.
Regarding an often-heard complaint from the plant’s opposition, Caraccioli said, “The plant is not running. It is not operating for business. My client has had a delivery of the equipment. It comes in very large parts. The company that brought it up, some of the loads were so wide, they had to get a DOT (Dept. of Transportation) permit to transport it, and the New York State DOT gave them the specific truck route by which to deliver the equipment to the location, 178 Darrow Road. The DOT dictated that the equipment come from State Route 104 down Darrow Road north. And so, I think that got a lot of the neighbors in the area that are either opposed to my client’s project or have concerns about it, it got them either very upset or perhaps more concerned. But that’s all it was, was the delivery of the equipment. It has been set up and is in a position to begin running as soon as the planning board issues the site plan permit.”
Regarding the noise during the delivery of Simmons’ equipment, Caraccioli said, “There was definitely noise. When you set up a facility like this there’s trucks and things that have to be moved around, and I’m sure that there was noise generated, but they are not open for business and running the operation at this time.”
Asked what his client thinks of all the opposition to this project and whether it makes him rethink it, could Simmons just buy another piece of land somewhere else in the middle of nowhere and build his cement plant there instead, or, is he committed to doing this in New Haven, Caraccioli replied, “Well, he’s committed for a host of reasons. Probably the biggest one is that he is going to be able to employ at least 10 laborers making $20 an hour and a pretty significant payroll weekly. He’s proud of that, and he really wants that to happen. He wants to do well and contribute economically to the town. This will generate tax revenue for property tax, sales tax, and very good wages for several employees. These are the things he’s proud of. What’s frustrating is that people are just jumping to their own conclusions. He’s welcomed any neighbor onto that property, he will show them around and exactly what the operation consists of. It is a state of the art, portable concrete batch plant. This is a 2021 model with all of the latest filtration systems. This is a high-tech operation. It’s not a rusty, dusty old operation. This is really first-rate. They are investing over $2 million in this equipment and all of the upgrades to the property.”
Simmons said he choose New Haven because it is centrally located to where he gets his aggregate from. They have to haul the sand, stone, and the concrete. The location is only about five miles from the processor that makes it.
He has stopped work on the project out of respect for the town and everybody who lives nearby the plant. He’s trying to let things settle down and get the proper approvals. He said “I’ve gone above and beyond, spent a lot of extra money. I hired a geologist. I finally went and got an attorney to cover bases with everybody. I don’t want to not do things right. I spent a lot of extra money to do this right. I originally went to all my direct neighbors that touch my property to talk to them. That is what I did before I even went to the town.”
Simmons gave a tour of the plant, the surrounding area and discussed the process of making concrete.
The best temperature for concrete? 65 degrees. “After about two hours.” Simmons said, “it starts to get stiff. In the summer, you want to thin it out and finish it as soon as possible.”
This fact turns out to be very important. It’s played a role in a lot of the decisions Simmons has made, including buying what’s called a “portable” plant.
He did months of research “and decided this was the best option,” primarily for its portability. It can be taken down in a week and transported anywhere, making it possible for him to take on big jobs should they come up, because being close to the job site is very important when you’re supplying a product that changes quickly.
Contrary to the belief of some in opposition to Simmons’ project, the cement plant is a taxable item. “After something’s been in place for six months,” he said, “it’s a taxable structure. It never once came out of my mouth that I was trying to avoid any taxes.”
On the topic of noise, Simmons said, “This plant is not loud at all. The loudest sound coming out of the plant is from the stone hitting the steel when it’s being dumped into the hopper at the start of the process.”
There used to be a barn where the hopper now stands. Removing it doesn’t seem to have been any big deal.
And then there’s the concern over dust. It primarily centers on Portland cement, a fine powder and a very necessary part of making cement. It comes down from the tall silo-like structure, is mixed with aggregate and water, and flows into the waiting cement truck below. It’s not just Portland cement. Even with the addition of water to the mixture as it flows into the cement truck, this is not a dust-free process. But two strong vacuums, right next to the chute filling the cement truck, just above the end of that chute, right above the truck, suck up any dust. The vacuums have replaceable filters within them.
The cement footings that support this entire structure are sunk 18 feet into the ground.
“It’s all top of the line,” Simmons said. “I paid extra for this type of plant. These are used right in New York City. It’s overkill for up here.”
The operator sits in an office, watches the plant through a window, and controls everything via computer.
“It’s very automated. It’s got less than a 0.1% tolerance of consistency,” Simmons noted.
Regarding the opposition to his plant, Simmons said, “I’m just frustrated ‘cause I’ve tried, and they are just set in their mind. It just upsets me because I picked New Haven when I had other options and I didn’t think I’d get this kind of backlash. But I got to the point where I have so much invested, there’s no turning back.”
Presently, a huge outdoor generator provides power to the plant, “and that’s what’s noisy,” Simmons said. He rents it by the month, and it’ll no longer be there once the electrical power is fully in place.
Again, on the portability of the plant:
“I bought it, I don’t like doing things twice,” Simmons said. “In my mind, let’s say, down the road, a big job came, I want to have the ability to move it. You can set up on the job and instead of having trucks run 6, 7, 8 miles from here, and service them right around the clock. The longer cement is on the truck, the more apt it is to fail testing.”
When he builds the pole barn building, it will enclose the entire plant except for the top half of the silo. Payloaders will fill the hopper from inside the building. Trucks will be filled with cement inside the building. The Portland cement will be added inside the building. The building will measure about 80 by 100 feet.
Simmons has five cement trucks that cost him $110,000 apiece. They’re 2015s. New ones go for $250,000 each.
“I keep clean, neat trucks. I don’t run junk, I never have. That’s not how I do my business,” he said.
The trucks are far from silent, but they’re not the loudest trucks either.
Concrete takes 29 days to fully cure. They test it after seven days, 14 days, and 28 days for its hardness by crushing it and noting at what pressure it breaks at.
“This is why I’m so frustrated,” he said. “I’m very passionate about this. I’ve made a big investment, and I’ve made a lot of choices, and these people don’t understand. I get it. Some of them are retired, and they think they aren’t going to hear the birds anymore and this and that. That’s not the case. Yes, there will be more traffic with my trucks. I’m not denying that, but at the end of the day, it’s not like there were never trucks out here.”
He reiterated his invitation to any of his neighbors.
“I will sit and have a respectful conversation with you,” he said, “no yelling, no hostility. If that’s what you plan on coming to do, then don’t even come. I’ll walk away from you. I’m not about that.”
Why does think there’s all this opposition to his plant?
“I think they’re looking at this way too hard,” he said. “They’re looking at it as a big industry. And I’ve tried to tell them, that’s not what I’m trying to accomplish here. Yes, I’m going to run busy five, six months out of the year. I don’t plan on adding any more trucks or people. That’s not my goal. There’s only x amount of smaller guys that need to be supported with concrete, and I think I’ve covered it.”
About a half-mile down the Darrow Road heading north, the road heads up a hill, a small hill but a hill nonetheless. Simmons says at that distance, and beyond that hill, people will “never hear me, see me, or nothing. They might hear the (backup) beepers on the equipment. I’m not going to lie. But, once you get over this hill, I’m not going to exist to anybody down here. They’re not very educated on the whole thing. They haven’t even taken the time to come to me or see me. They’ve just got it set in their head that if this happens, it’s going to destroy everything. They’re acting like I’m putting a strip club next to the elementary school.”
Driving down Darrow Road, Simmons pointed to numerous businesses, both past and present, including a place that used to crush stone, and just up Stone Road a sawmill, both that used to, or still do, produce quite the noise. His point was that there have been, or still are, numerous other businesses in the direct vicinity, and that Darrow Road is used by numerous other businesses as a shortcut for their trucks from County Route 6 to State Route 104, or even just to make deliveries right in the area. His trucks will not be the only trucks on that road and the others have nothing to do with him or his business.
Simmons said taking the long way south on Darrow Road rather than heading north along it, “had nothing to do with getting approved or denied. I just offered that up just to be a good neighbor. I’m doing what I can that is reasonable.
“I’m trying to provide jobs. I mean, as little as it is, it’ll be 10 more people from this area. Money will be spent here in New Haven, whether it’s them stopping at a gas station to get lunch and drinks or fuel, it’s the circle of life, it’s an effect. They aren’t looking at things correctly.”
There are 42 houses that Simmons’ trucks won’t be going by (north), and about a dozen his trucks will be going by as they go the long way south.
Of the 42, Simmons estimates only 12 might be affected by any noise from his plant. Of the other 30, those close to Stone Road might hear the backup beepers he’s required to have on his trucks. The rest, he predicts, will hear nothing.
“This thing really isn’t as loud as it’s made out to be,” he said. “Nothing’s really an eyesore either, especially once I get the building up.”
He’s 278 feet from the wetlands. “There’s no actual waste or discharge water. There’ll be washout pits that are built and approved by the DEC. They are a series of three bays through which the wastewater flows, cleaned successively more through each one, so that by the time it reaches the third bay, it’s clean water which will be pumped back to the plant to be used over the aggregate to mist it, the rest will be used to wash trucks. When pond one builds up enough sediment, it is scooped out by a payloader, dropped into a dump truck, and goes to Lindsey Aggregates to be reused in their gravel bed. It’s trucked out. Nothing ever sees the ground. Nothing goes down the hill. Every day it’s maintained.”
The Planning Board told him he had a better-prepared application than the Dollar General that just went in.
“How I built this wasn’t cheap,” Simmons said. “I’m not a guy who half-asses anything. If I can’t do it correct, I don’t involve myself. I learned at a young age, nothing’s successful unless you put your heart and soul into it.”
While driving, he got a call for a job worth $6,300 but had to pass on it. “I can’t do it,” he said, “because I signed a thing with the town that I’ll wait until this is addressed. So, it costs me thousands of dollars.”