(Host) The town of Shaftsbury wants an alternate site found for a compost operation that would be built adjacent to one of Vermont’s state parks.
VPR’s Kirk Carapezza reports.
(Carapezza) The town’s Development Review Board is holding hearings on a composting facility proposed by TAM Incorporated, a waste removal company. The new operation would be built on land near Lake Shaftsbury State Park. At issue is how the commercial composting site should be characterized under the Act 250 development control law.
(Mance) "What we’re putting in is all agricultural products."
(Carapezza) That’s Trevor Mance, the president and owner of TAM. Mance says his company’s composting process requires a large area – about 3.5 acres of land.
(Mance) "Some of the compost will be put back onto our own fields to bring up the nutrient level as opposed to spraying fertilizer on them. The rest obviously will be sold. But we feel as though it is an agricultural product – process making an agricultural product."
(Carapezza) But others in Shaftsbury disagree. Mike Foley and his family live on a farm near the proposed site. Foley says Trevor Mance’s operation is too large – it’s more industrial than agricultural.
(Foley) "Because he’s not a farmer that I’ve ever heard of. And no one has ever referred to them as farmers. They do lease out this land, apparently."
(Carapezza) Foley also worries the composting site will threaten the quality of the town’s groundwater.
(Foley) "We’ve had an enormous amount of rain and he’s talking about putting in a pond before it would hit the stream that would run directly to Lake Shaftsbury."
(Carapezza) Deb Markowitz is the secretary of the state’s Agency of Natural Resources. She says, ultimately, the Act 250 permitting process will depend on how much compost TAM will produce.
(Markowitz) "My understanding is that there was a decision that it didn’t apply because in their original Act 250 application they talked about taking 5,000 or less cubic feet of compost waste, which brings them under the agricultural rules. It may be that they intend to take more, at which point the regulatory permit process will apply under Act 250".
(Carapezza) The agency is now reviewing TAM’s proposal, though a final decision isn’t expected for months.
For VPR News, I’m Kirk Carapezza.