Land Use

Neighbors Question Legality of Scituate Condo Development

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Neighbors claim this muddy runoff is caused by a failure to install temporary stormwater controls at the Chopmist Hill Estates site in Scituate, R.I. (John Patrie)

Work is underway at a controversial condominium development in Scituate, R.I., but town officials, despite ongoing concerns from project neighbors, remain silent on whether any rules are being broken.

The Chompist Hill Estate project has been mired in controversy since 2016, when the property owner and former Town Council president John Mahoney modified plans and began construction without permits.

In July, Mahoney was fined $3,000 by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) for unauthorized building of a driveway and for violating a stormwater discharge permit at the 6.7-acre lot on Chopmist Hill Road.

In the latest incident of community concern, neighbors reported excessive tree clearing and exorbitant muddy runoff, which they claim is happening because of the project’s lack of erosion-control measures.

Frustrated neighbors said they have received no response from town officials for paperwork showing that the 18-unit condo complex is allowed to go forward. Town Council president James Brady Jr. and building official George Dumont haven’t responded to neighbors or ecoRI News.

In a Dec. 5 letter to the Town Council, 17 neighbors complain of regular violations of town ordinances and state regulations. They fear the project will threaten their well water, and urged officials to take immediate steps to protect their health and drinking water supply.

“We demand that you, the Scituate Town Council Members, instruct the Town Building Inspector and Town Engineer to do their jobs and protect the residents of this Town,” according to the letter.

Town Council members have been quiet on the subject, but residents plan to speak out at the council meeting scheduled for Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.

According to DEM, Mahoney has the permits to build the condominiums as long as he follows the development plans. DEM’s Office of Compliance and Inspection visited the property during the week of Dec. 1 and didn’t find any unauthorized land clearing. DEM is determining if there are any issues with erosion controls.

Mahoney has been true to his promise that he would never pay the $3,000 fine, which he told The Valley Breeze in August. The fine was due Oct. 1. DEM may issue a notice of violation once the review of findings is completed.

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  1. When I see a muddy, degraded stream like the one in the photo, to me it’s just another sad example of the "Pursuit of Happiness."

  2. This is very embarrassing for the town of Scituate, allowing this person and project to precede.
    How can run off be allowed to enter the Scituate reservoir ?
    It sounds to me the town of Scituate and the developer both are dangers to our drinking water and environment. Please step in state and federal agencies. Save my drinking water.

  3. It is against the law in Rhode Island to allow runoff from one property onto another. DEM is very strict about this. So why can Mr. Mahoney continue to do this, one reason is he has nothing to fear because he hired the building inspector in Scituate. DEM please do your job and stop this man who had no regard for the law

  4. Should I be worried if I want to purchase a condo there? Muddy water and water run off do not impair drinking water. Chemical pollutants do however.

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