Application Pulled for Providence ‘Garbage Depot’
March 13, 2020
PROVIDENCE — The proposed waste-transfer station on Allens Avenue that drew intense opposition from neighbors, businesses, and environmental groups is no more.
The waste-processing facility, slated for a 4-acre brownfield at the corner of Allens and Thurbers avenues, was already in doubt when, earlier this month, Mayor Jorge Elorza announced his opposition and the city planner issued a negative recommendation for the project.
Opponents were concerned about the health and environmental impacts of 188 additional trucks making their way through the neighborhood daily. They were also concerned about dust and noise from the processing of construction and demolition debris and municipal waste. But the project was likely doomed by a city zoning ordinance that prohibits private entities from operating a waste-transfer station.
In his review for the City Plan Commission (CPC), city planner Robert Azar found that the project was consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan, street access, and other requirements, but since it was going to be run by a private company he advised the CPC to reject the project.
The application was scheduled to go before the CPC on March 17, but on March. 12, an attorney for the applicant, 487 Allens LLC, informed the city via email of its intent to halt the project. In order for the proposed development to come back, a new application must be filed with the city.
The Department of Environmental Management has not received notification from the developer to rescind applications for a waste-transfer station.
A request to comment from the developer, William Thibeault of Everett, Mass., wasn’t returned.
Opponents were pleased with the recent news.
“This is a win for our community,” said Linda Perri, a member of the Washington Park Neighborhood Association. “No longer are we to be looked at as a dumping ground. We, the southeast part of Providence and Washington Park, are a valued resource with unlimited possibilities.”
City Council member Pedro Espinal, a vocal opponent of the project, thanked advocates for speaking out.
“No longer will lower South Providence and Washington Park be a dumping ground,” he said. “We deserve better, and I will work every day to make sure that happens.”
At opposition meetings and rallies, Kevin Budris, staff attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation, noted that the facility would process up to 250 tons of waste daily, making it larger than any waste-transfer station in Massachusetts or Connecticut.
“The decision to scrap plans for this garbage depot is an unqualified win for the neighborhood,” Budris said. “The community was loud and clear in opposing the toxic exhaust and dust this dirty facility would produce. We need to put our efforts into reducing waste, rather than forcing our communities to deal with pollution from trash that they did not create.”
The project was also opposed by Meeting Street school, local construction companies, the city’s commercial vehicle enforcement officer, local health experts, and members of the City Council and General Assembly.
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