Company begins cleanup of decades old ‘bus graveyards’

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – Dozens of inoperable buses that have occupied two North Smithfield properties for decades have finally left town.

United Truck Bus Service Co. and First Student, Inc. are cleaning up lots on Railroad Street and Comstock Road, long known as the town’s “bus graveyards.”

The progress comes following a letters sent to two states from town Building & Zoning Official Larry Enright.

Considered an eyesore by many, the highly-visible property at 25 Railroad St. has been used for storage of the mostly junk vehicles going many years. Town property records show the 2-acre lot, which holds an 880-square-foot garage built in 1978, has been owned by United Truck & Bus Service Company since at least 1999.

Town Council President John Beauregard brought attention to the property in January after noticing that most of the vehicles were never cleaned off after a snow storm that month. He brought the issue to former Building Official Kerry Anderson, who sent a letter to First Student in Providence, believed to be the parent company the parked vehicles, regarding violations of the town’s zoning ordinances.

Anderson retired in April, and Enright took over the town’s building and zoning department soon after.

On Thursday, April 19, the new town official sent a second communication, this time to United Truck Bus Service Co. care of Ducharme McMillen & Associates, noting the property was cited for multiple property maintenance code violations in 2013 and 2014.

“One of the violations was the storage of unlicensed (unregistered) and inoperative vehicles, which is prohibited,” in a business neighborhood zoning district, Enright wrote, noting that at the time, he saw what appeared to be around 30 inoperable busses located on the lot. 

Enright also targeted the Comstock Road lot, sending that communication to First Student Inc. care of Marvin Poer, to a P.O. box in Dallas, Texas.

And after years of inactivity, it was clear this week that the owners took heed.

As of Thursday, May 26, less than one quarter of the orange/yellow vehicles remained on Railroad Street, and most were parked toward the back of the property, far less visible to those traveling along Route 5.

“They started to remove a lot of the buses that were inoperable,” said Enright. “Some are going to remain there but I think they’re only going to be operable buses.”

Enright said that many of the vehicles shipped away likely couldn’t be started, with missing headlights and no registration.

“I think they were using them for parts,” he said, noting progress has also been made at Comstock, at a property tucked away down the dead end street.

“They’re doing the same thing over there,” Enright said.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Gail should we be closing the shop next door with the cars. How about the businesses across the street. All have bad chemicals. There is something more to this story.

    • Hi David W,
      Unless they are spilling oils there and not abiding by the laws, I personally don’t have any problem with a business following the EPA and our water quality standards. If there’s more to this story, I’m not privy, but I personally think it was a great idea to start. I’m very concerned about the water in NS. Hooking up to other water sources is ridiculous and expensive when we have our own aquifer and tributaries. Don’t you want what’s best for our children? Many city people are moving to NS and do not realize what NS has to offer.
      Whatever they are up to? I say clean it up.

  2. Concerned Citizen must really hit a nerve now we have Gail Berlinghof a member of the zoning board chiming in. Somethings up….

  3. Concerned citizen: How about potential for polluted wells?????? Geez people, I read these comments and I’m just god smacked by the stupidity.

  4. People will gladly give you backyard, redneck opinions without knowing anything. PEOPLE!!!! learn where your water is coming from!! There is a HUGE aquifer there. There are things you really you SHOULD be doing, first read Zoning law 6.10. Business have to adhere to very stringent laws and they are not enforced for town citizens…. come on people. A junkyard, scrap yard, oils, toxins, right over your water source… gee how many tails have you grown? How’s your breathing been lately? Let’s start with LR&R, Stamina Mills and a few others EPA lists. The Army National Guard had to dismantle their buildings etc. YES there is contaminated water … but go ahead, just make your insults.. There are more properties that need to be cleaned up, is one of them yours?

  5. People don’t know that area is over the aquifer. Oils leaking into the ground is NOT conducive to healthy water. That whole section, where the marble place is. You saw how even Mechanic Street had polluted wells from an area next to the bus yard. Why not clean up North Smithfield? It’s an eye sore. The gas station next to it is an eye sore. I can name a few more eye sores that need to be cleaned up. If concerned people would only speak up. The new building inspector will be busy cleaning up NS.
    How did Mr. Beauregard come off like a schoolyard bully? I must have missed something. It’s about time NS cleans up their act.

  6. Seem like someone hit a sore spot with Mr Beauregard and his directorship style of government. From what I see current decisions and actions do not necessarily represent the wish of the citizens and are not always in the best interest of the taxpayers. Things are happening in negative way in spite of certain bully politicians thinking and training. Maybe cleaning up the buses is a good thing but is the company using the property in a way that violates the zoning laws or is this the current administration not liking the use of the property. This is a deeper issue than the buses but is a issue of a citizens right to question government’s decisions when they are in disagreement or want more information about the decision and they are entitled to a logical rational answer.

    • Scott, what do you mean “directorship style” of government mean to you? What I see is a town leadership FINALLY cleaning up our gorgeous town. How long have you been in town? Also, why hide your last name? Why not be open on who you are?

  7. Concerned Citizen must have hit a hot spot with John Beauregard and right on queue he comes across just like the schoolyard bully. Appears the council president hasn’t learned his lesson with his demeanor towards constituents, maybe voters should consider an alternative to him next election.

  8. Why are John Beauregard and Paul Z so interested in this property and issue all of a sudden. Something must be up.

    • If you were truly a concerned citizen you would have been asking why there was a junkyard at that location for so many years. Things are happening,but not because of people like you, but in spite of people like you.

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