Buxton Hollow compost plant appeal again delayed as attorney leaves case

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – Buxton Hollow Farm owner Frank Jacques’ appeal of the town’s cease and desist order for his compost operation has again been delayed – with no set date currently on the horizon.

The order, issued in 2020, demanded that Jacques stop accepting dumped materials such as food scraps at his 29-acre property at 300 Buxton St. The garbage, which neighbors have said creates a terrible smell, is used to a produce compost known as Rhody Gold, sold locally.

Jacques appealed order soon after the violation was filed, stating that the allegations and enforcement actions violate Rhode Island’s Right to Farm Act.

In the two years since, a hearing was initially not scheduled by the appellant for several months. It has been postponed again several times since, most recently in November, after Jacques’ attorney sent a letter requesting an additional 30-day extension.

At the time, Attorney Stephen Angell, who is representing the town of North Smithfield and zoning officials in the matter, told board members that the parties had been discussing a possible settlement.

The latest hearing, initially scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 4, was cancelled last week following news that Attorney Michael Kelly would no longer be working on the case.

According to Building Inspector Kerry Anderson, officials learned of a change in representation through a letter from Kelly’s law firm, Kelly, Souza, & Parmenter.

“They have withdrawn their representation,” Anderson said. “It was their call.”

Anderson said Jacques does not yet have another attorney, and the hearing will be rescheduled only when he notifies the town of new representation. He notes that the cease and desist order for the property remains in full effect.

Editor’s note: An original version of this article stated that the hearing was initially delayed by the pandemic, but the Zoning Board did not cancel any meetings. We apologize for the error.

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