Processing plant proposal stirs neighbors' opposition

Plans by New Milford businessman Robert Zaloski to create an outdoor manufacturing and processing facility within the Still River watershed has caused concern among fellow residents.

Zaloski has proposed a plan to the New Milford Zoning Commission to develop 1.3 acres along Aldrich Road, at the southern most end of New Milford, as a processing and storage site for materials including shingles, asphalt, concrete and possibly glass.

These materials would be processed on site to a sand consistency for use in asphalt production and road base.

The property lies within a flood zone but Russ Posthauer, P.E., representing Zaloski, said the site is a "low, non-velocity" area, so he believes washouts would not occur.

The site would likely be affected by mud left from flooding, he said. Nothing would be removed from the site, he added, in the event of flooding.

Outside stockpiles of material would be 25 feet in height within bin walls approximately 10 feet high and six feet above flood level, Posthauer said.

Siltation basins behind the plant and at the outside edges of the property to the north and south would filter rinse water used to washdown materials and finished sand material when eliminating airborne particulates, he said.

Some 25 residents of the Aldrich Road area spoke in opposition to the application during the May 26 public hearing.

Their concerns included tri-axel trucks bringing materials to the site from Route 7, along Cross Road and Erickson Road.

"These are narrow roads, not designed for tri-axel trucks," said Bob Golembeski. "Where will other vehicles go when these big trucks come through?"

Catherine Sunztram presented a petition signed by about 100 residents in the town asking the Zoning Commission to do more study about asphalt and asbestos, flooding and truck traffic coming to and leaving the site, before moving forward with the application.

"I'm asking that you use your sensibility," said Katherine Golembeski. "Inland-Wetlands already approved this without DEEP permits in place. I'm appealing to you to look more closely at this application."

Jim Kick expressed concern about materials possibly washing into the Still River when flooding would occur and also about air pollution from "particulates and asbestos" from material processing.

"What will happen with the property after this use is abandoned?" Kick asked.

New Milford Public Works director Mike Zarba has concerns about the material stockpiling at the site but said he feels Posthauer addressed that issue.

"They will be washing the materials down prior to stockpiling them," Zarba said. "As a result, the stockpiles will be dense. That eliminates the potential problem I saw of a sediment build up occurring in the river bed from airborne particulates."

Zaloski said the manufacturing process would be monitored by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain said the state agency has yet to be contacted by Zaloski, however, and several permits may be required.

The Inland-Wetlands Commission approved the project in November.

In June of 2014, the Zoning Board of Appeals granted variances for setbacks.

The zoners' public hearing will resume June 9 at 7 p.m. at town hall.; 203-731-3352