A bid to reopen a landfill closed by a court order as a recycling facility is headed for court.
Darlene Chapdelaine, spokesman for Recycling Inc., said Thursday the Planning and Zoning Board did not follow its own procedures in denying the application Tuesday night.
Richard J. Barrett and Joseph F. Barrett, of Stratford, are the owners of the 6.71-acre site at 990 Naugatuck Ave., next to the Housatonic River. It had been leased to Associated Carting Inc., which was closed in a settlement between that company and state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal two years ago.
The attorney general had filed suit against Associated Carting Co. at the request of the state Department of Environmental Protection and the city after several large, open containers of household garbage were discovered on the site. The company had a permit to accept construction debris.
Chapdelaine said city officials treated the new application -- for a "volume reduction facility" that removes recyclable material from the waste stream -- as if it was by the same applicant for the same use that was prohibited in 2007.
"They had decided to deny this application before the public hearing, and it was not circulated to the other city departments for comment, like zoning applications always are," she said.
The PZB changed its regulations for the Housatonic Design District to ban facilities such as the one Recycling Inc. is proposing. The new regulation took effect Wednesday; the company's application was considered under the earlier rules, PZB member Frank Goodrich said.
"Upon the advice of the city planner we denied it without prejudice," Goodrich said. "It was an incomplete site plan.'' The facility has been approved by the DEP to receive 1,000 tons of material per day, some of it arriving by barge. Chapdelaine said the recycling plant conforms to the state's solid waste plan.
"Of the 51 properties in the Housatonic Design District, only seven are residential," she said. "This facility would create at least 20 new jobs. Who exactly would it hurt?"
City officials noted that one of those residential properties is the 320-unit Caswell Cove Condominiums.
"I spoke to the Planning and Zoning Board and urged them not to approve this," Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. said. "The application calls for bringing garbage in by barge and rail.
"I also spoke to Attorney General Blumenthal and we are united in this," the mayor said.
Chapdelaine, however, said the matter will be decided in court, "and we're going to win.''
Goodrich said Tuesday night's hearing already felt like a legal proceeding. "They had a court stenographer there," he said. "The last time I saw that was with [housing developer] AvalonBay."
ORIGINAL FRANK JULIANO ARTICLE