Illegal mining? Town investigates allegations regarding gravel operation

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – Jason Richer says that when he stumbled upon the town of North Smithfield’s regulations that govern businesses conducting earth removal, the information came as a surprise.

The regulations, passed in the 1960s, require an appearance before the Zoning Board of Review to obtain a special exemption for the activity, with presentation of a site and restoration plan. A bond must be paid to ensure land restoration, and the company’s license to operate must be renewed annually, with yearly inspections of the property by a zoning official.

A special use road permit is also required for trucks weighing more than 35,000 pounds, used often by such companies to cart off extracted earth, to travel on town streets.

The municipal law, found in Article IV of Chapter 11 of the town’s ordinances, which covers occupational licenses, does make exemptions for pre-existing nonconforming uses, commonly referred to as “grandfathered land rights.”

But it also states that the exemption for earth removal activities no longer applies once the property is sold.

“Upon the sale of any real property being used for earth removal activities, the nonconforming status of this section shall no longer be considered in effect and any subsequent earth removal activities must be licensed and conform to the regulations of this article,” it states, in part. “Should an existing earth removal operation be sold, such operation shall no longer be considered nonconforming and must obtain a license renewed annually with any change of plans submitted to the zoning inspector who conduct field inspection and submit written findings to the Town Council of compliance or non-compliance.”

Richer has since sought information regarding Material Sand & Stone’s operations on the company’s 89-acre lot by Pine Hill and Old Oxford Roads, submitting an Access to Public Records Act request for copies of the current permits, as well as site plans, restoration plans and receipts from the surety bonds.

According to town property records, the property – known officially as Plat 7, Lot 38 – was purchased by Pound Hill Realty, LLC from Leonard and Constance Pezza for $1,276,000 in 2013.

The earth extraction company remains in the Pezza family, operating under the name “Material Sand & Stone,” since 1985, “to excavate, wash, screen, sell, and deal in gravel and sand, and to engage in the manufacture, distribution and sale of sand and crushed stone products,” according to articles of incorporation filed with the Secretary of State, which list Robert Pezza as president, and Michael Pezza as vice president.

But answers were murky this week regarding the business’s permit to operate.

In a note to Town Clerk Joanne Buttie on Richer’s APRA request, later provided to him in response to the inquiry, Building Official Lawrence Enright notes, “I did not find any of these types of documents in my office,” adding that he also could not find documentation of the required annual field inspections.

In a separate email, Finance Director Cynthia DeJesus tells Buttie, “we do not have any bonds for these plats/lots.”

Asst. Planning Director Bobbi Moneghan also weighs in, noting that the Planning Department does not have site plans, restoration plans or surety bonds on file for the property at either Town Hall or the older Memorial Town Building.

Richer has since submitted a complaint to the town regarding the company’s ongoing earth removal, stating that the business has been operating without a license since 2013, and that none of the town’s regulations have been followed.

“The owner, Pound Hill Realty, has never applied for or received a special use permit to do earth removal nor has the owner applied for a special use road permit for trucks weighing in excess of 35,000 pounds,” stated Richer in a note dated Wednesday, June 15. “The pre-existing non-conforming status was lost upon the sale of the property on January 11, 2013.”

Richer said he also believes there are several zoning violations on the lot, including lack of fencing, mining taking place within the 200 foot buffer of the property line, mining of a 32-acre area where the activity was supposed to be restricted, improper signage, lack of permitting and more.

Zoning Board Chairman Robert Najarian told NRI NOW that to his knowledge, the board, “has not been presented with any such applications requesting relief for ‘earth removal operations.'”

Jason Richer speaks before the Town Council.

Richer said he has also conducted an exhaustive search on the issue, but has found no appearance by Pound Hill Realty, Material Sand or any member of the Pezza family before zoning in recent years.

Compliance with the town’s regulations falls under the purview of North Smithfield building and zoning department, a job Enright took over upon the retirement of former Building Official Kerry Anderson in April.

Documents provided by Richer appear to show that at one point, the town’s regulations were enforced.

Former town Building and Zoning Official Bob Benoit issued a cease and desist order to Leonard Pezza in 1990 after the company purchased a second 32-acre lot to merge at the time with his business’s existing earth extraction operations.

“The property that you purchased in 1987 does not enjoy the same privilege as the pre-existing use that you have,” wrote Benoit, instructing Pezza to submit a plan for activities on the 32-acre portion, as well as obtain the permit required for trucks weighing more than 35,000 pounds.

A second letter from the town solicitor’s office states that the Pezzas must have a survey to establish boundaries between the two parcels, as mining on the smaller portion is illegal without the needed permitting.

Another note from Benoit in 1992 addresses an application by the company to remove 450,000 yards from the 32-acre portion of the property, citing the regulations that require the owner of the lot to go before the Zoning Board.

Richer says that in the years since Benoit’s retirement, the parcel has been heavily excavated with no permit and no end in sight.

The company’s use of Pound Hill Road and Pine Hill Terrace for large truck travel became the subject of a lawsuit in 2001, with a Superior Court judge ultimately ruling that the company could use the roads to enter and exit the property – within certain restrictions, which Richer alleges have also not been followed.

Richer brought the issue to the Town Council at their meeting in July, and last week, he met with Enright and Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski to discuss the complaint.

Zwolenski noted that Richer appears to have done extensive research, and that town officials are still in the process of looking at all of the documentation. A representative from the town’s legal office was visiting the state archives in Pawtucket on Friday, August 12 to obtain a copy of the previous Superior Court decision regarding the lot.

“I want to take a look at all of these things,” Zwolenski told NRI NOW of the concerns raised. “I’m certainly not just going to put a company out of business that provides jobs.”

“We’re going to be very cautious in approaching this,” he added.

Zwolenski said Enright had plans to begin looking further at the issue on Monday, August 15.

“I’m going to leave it to his judgement to pace himself in how he handles these things,” Zwolenski said.

NRI NOW left a message for Robert Pezza regarding the allegations on Friday, August 12 and called again on Monday, August 15. We were told the issue is currently with the company’s attorney and that Robert Pezza does not wish to comment at this time.

NRI NOW will provide follow-up on this article is more information becomes available.

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46 COMMENTS

  1. My family and I moved to N. Smithfield a few years ago thinking it was a quiet, tight knit community. It didn’t take long to find out it wasn’t as quiet or tight knit as hoped. First the town council/ Nike debacle that put the town in the national spotlight, and not in a good way. The solar panel farm, the field and concession stand thing, etc… Now to find out NS town officials/employees either aren’t doing their duties properly, or worse, turning a blind eye to basic town ordinances. Either because of some “good ol’ boys” type of agreement or some back room dealings. If this was your average joe, they’d be sent a cease and desist letter, fined and made to pay restitution. What’s right is right. This is a black and white issue and I hope the town officials don’t try to muddy this with grey statements to distract from the facts. The destruction of natural habitats in this small town with very little say from what the majority of the town’s people feel is extremely disconcerting. I implore town officials to do the right thing here and help restore our faith in this small town.

  2. Happy one month anniversary to this issue becoming public! No news yet; I’m guessing Mr. Enright might have been encouraged to go with “snail pace” since the election for Town Council is right around the corner.
    Zwolenski said Enright had plans to begin looking further at the issue on Monday, August 15.
    “I’m going to leave it to his judgement to pace himself in how he handles these things,” Zwolenski said.

    • Issues? Where to begin? Maybe if the TA and TC allowed Mr. Enright to do his job, as we hired him to do, there might be some answers by now. The town is going to hell in a hand basket as the older generation would say. Seems like most of these issues predated Mr. Enright, but then again the Town circumvented Zoning to bulldoze their way into a new overlay district, to benefit Green Development, with Kerry Anderson in that position. It’s high time that we elect new people, otherwise nothing in this Town will get done, the right way, according to our own Zoning Ordinances. Let the TA answer to new oversight, not the same old, same old and let the Zoning Inspector do his job.

  3. Citizens of the town need to hold the town Administrator and council members hands to the fire. If they turn a blind eye, vote them all out…..

  4. Jason, as a resident on Pound Hill Road, I can’t thank you enough for your efforts, attention and persistence with this case. The quarry is something we’ve complained about since they day we moved in – from unannounced blasting, constant vibrations, unpermitted semi-trucks using a residential road – the complaints go on and on with very little attention to our concerns and frustrations. A lot of what you’ve pointed out with substantial evidence are things that we’ve questioned the town about and were told they’d look into…to no avail. I’ve shared this article with every resident I know on this road and to my surprise, they were COMPLETELY unaware of the work you’ve done and the media coverage. They are all as excited and energized as I am. Know that you have my support and partnership.

    • Jason is doing a lot of good, he is actually working tenaciously to get something done about many real longstanding problems that we face daily! Single handedly I might add! Have you checked out his audacious YouTube Channel…? Get your popcorn!!!!

      • I did, Darlene! I especially enjoyed the Google Earth historical view that shows how much the quarry has grown (especially while operating without permitting and bonds!).

        ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IWy7YWJENw )

        I truly hope these findings influence serious and permanent change. It’s incredibly concerning that this business has been allowed to operate without the appropriate permitting and bonds, and in turn, have been an egregious disturbance to and degradation of residential life here on Pound Hill.

        I also looked into the historical cemetery and American Indian burial site claims noted below and found some interesting resources. I’d be happy to share my findings if you’re interested. I was a historian in a past life so I thoroughly appreciate research of this nature!

    • Perhaps we should form a group in the neighborhood and push forth a concerted effort.
      I first made the town aware at the end of April. After getting nowhere, I filed a complaint against the Zoning Officer for not acting upon the unpermitted manufacturing going on there on June 15th. The Town Clerk sent it to Administrator Zwolenski, who sat on it and never gave it to Zoning Officer Enright. I learned this on August 10th when I met with both the Administrator and the Zoning Officer. Mr Enright told me “this is the first have seen of this”, when I handed him a copy.
      Why is the Administrator interfering with the job of the Zoning Officer? The Zoning Officer is the ultimate arbiter of zoning. The Administrator has no say in Mr Enright’s decisions. At least that is supposed to be how it works according to the Town Charter. Only the Zoning Board Of Review can overturn the decisions of the Zoning Officer.
      ________________________________________________________
      https://www.nsmithfieldri.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif3596/f/uploads/section_4.pdf
      ZONING ORDINANCES SECTION 4.
      NONCONFORMING LOTS, NONCONFORMING USES OF LAND, NONCONFORMING
      STRUCTURES, NONCONFORMING USES OF STRUCTURES AND PREMISES, AND
      NONCONFORMING CHARACTERISTICS OF USE
      Sec. 4.1. Intent
      Within the districts established by this ordinance or amendments that may later be adopted there
      exist:
      (a) Lots,
      (b) Structures,
      (c) Uses of land and structures, and
      (d) Characteristics of use
      which were lawful before this ordinance was passed or amended, but which would be prohibited,
      regulated, or restricted under the terms of this ordinance or future amendment. It is the intent of this
      ordinance to permit these nonconformities to continue until they are removed, but not to encourage their
      survival. It is further the intent of this ordinance that nonconformities shall not be enlarged upon,
      expanded or extended; nor be used as grounds for adding other structures of uses prohibited elsewhere in
      the same district. This provision shall not apply to the expansion, extension or enlargement of residential
      structures located in residential districts which expansion, extension or enlargement may be granted by
      way of special-use permit.
      Nonconforming uses are declared by this ordinance to be incompatible with permitted uses in the
      districts involved. A nonconforming use of a structure, a nonconforming use of land, or a
      nonconforming use of structures and land in combination shall not be extended or enlarged after passage
      of this ordinance by attachment on a building or premises of additional signs intended to be seen from
      off the premises, or by the addition of other uses, of a nature which would be prohibited generally in the
      district involved.
      _______________________________________________________

      So, since Aug 10th when the Zoning Officer received the complaint from me (hand delivered), he had 14 days to respond to me. I have not heard a word from he or his department.
      https://www.nsmithfieldri.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif3596/f/uploads/section_15.pdf

      SECTION 15.
      COMPLAINTS REGARDING VIOLATIONS
      Sec. 15.1. Procedure.
      Whenever a violation of this ordinance occurs, or is alleged to have occurred, any person may
      file a written complaint with the Zoning Enforcement Officer. Such complaint shall be in writing and
      shall state fully the cause and basis for the complaint. The Zoning Enforcement Officer shall properly
      record the complaint, immediately investigate, taking action as needed thereon as provided by this
      ordinance. Within 14 days of the date the complaint was recorded, the inspector shall notify the
      complainant in writing of his findings and/or determinations.
      _________________________________________________________

      On Sept 2nd I filed another complaint about Material Corp excavating the 32 acres of Plat 7 Lot 38 that was purchased in 1987. They were forbidden from excavating that section as lateral expansion is not allowed. You cannot buy conforming land that abuts your own and declare it too as now nonconforming.
      I’m hopeful this one will be recorded, inspected and acted upon. It states the Zoning Inspector has 14 days to respond but he is supposed to immediately inspect and record my complaint. I will check today to see if it was recorded and inspected. The 32 acres that were restricted from excavation has been excavated to a great extent.

      https://www.nsmithfieldri.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif3596/f/uploads/section_4.pdf
      Nonconforming uses are declared by this ordinance to be incompatible with permitted uses in the
      districts involved. A nonconforming use of a structure, a nonconforming use of land, or a
      nonconforming use of structures and land in combination shall not be extended or enlarged after passage
      of this ordinance by attachment on a building or premises of additional signs intended to be seen from
      off the premises, or by the addition of other uses, of a nature which would be prohibited generally in the
      district involved.
      ______________________________________________________________

      As of this morning, there seems to be much more noise coming from the quarry. I’ve seen old equipment brought out and new equipment brought in just recently. Time to look up noise ordinances and to take out the DB meter. My house has been insulated for sound. I’m right on Rt 7 and most vehicles that pass by cannot be heard but this new whine is permeating the whole house.

      I saw the Town Council okayed the addition of 2 telephone poles to the quarry. Did anyone else notice that every pole from Route 7 on Pound Hill Rd and Pine Hill Rd now has “D/S” spray painted on them? If you don’t know, that’s Dig Safe’s way of marking poles for replacement. Why would the quarry need all new telephone poles from Rt 7 to the quarry?

      Solar farm in the future?

      Personally I don’t think anyone should be rewarded with a special use permit after apparently violating zoning laws for years.

      • I emailed you at the email provided. And yes…MUCH more noise coming from the quarry. Sounded like trees were coming down today (to my untrained ear…so could be wrong). I’ve also noticed equipment being removed…I’m ready and willing to form a group and I know others in the neighborhood would be as well.

    • We should all join forces and make this a concerted effort. I believe the Town officials think I am alone in this, when there are many of us. It was not like this 10 years ago. The unpermitted manufacturing going on there has grown exponentially for close to ten years.

      • Jason, I’d be happy to join forces. It’s unfortunate that Town Officials are making it seem as though you’re alone. I have connected with Town Council Members and the Town Administrator on a few occasions expressing my frustrations and concerns. Let me know the best way to connect with you. I believe I have additional insights and first-hand accounts that may be helpful.

      • I agree that a coalition is needed. We have cried out repeatedly about what is going on in these pits and on our roads. These same issues brought up to the Town, State and Feds have all been blown off and this has been going on for decades.

        • My most recent Zoning complaint:

          Zoning Complaint RE Plat 7 Lot 4
          This Operation Lacks a Certificate of Compliance

          Town Of North Smithfield Sept 2, 2022
          Zoning Enforcement Officer
          83 Green St
          North Smithfield, RI 02896
          Good morning,
          I am writing in order to file a complaint that Plat 7 Lot 38 AKA Pine Hill Rd Quarry is being mined without a Certificate of Zoning Compliance by Material Corp. The owner, Pound Hill Realty has never applied for or received a Certificate of Zoning Compliance to do Earth Removal Operations on the 32 acre parcel of plat 7, lot 38 that was purchased on Nov 11, 1987. These 32 acres do not enjoy the same nonconforming status as the rest of Plat 7 Lot 38. From 2013 to present, the 32 prohibited acres have been and are being mined, blasted and quarried in violation of Article IV Soil and Earth Removal Operations.
          Violations noted:
          1. Lateral expansion is prohibited. Nevertheless, the 32 acres that are restricted have been mined extensively
          2. The property has been mined to the edges of the property and the 200-foot buffer from neighboring lot lines has not been maintained.
          3. The ground appears perpetually damp in the lowest mined areas. The operation must maintain at least 4 feet of distance from the water table. This does not appear to be the case
          4. There were at last count, 5 ponds on the property that appear to be dug BELOW the groundwater table. There shall be no permanent bodies of water created.
          5. Most of the ponds are green in color and indicate levels of stagnation. This too is prohibited.
          6. Fencing is missing above the blasted areas and other mined areas that are greater than 15 feet in depth and have a slope in excess of 1 to 2.
          7. Any access to excavated areas shall be adequately posted with Keep Out Danger signs. The property is surrounded by residential land and the whole perimeter lacks “Danger” signage.
          8. There isn’t a site plan on record as the application to remove 450,000 cubic yards from this 32 acre section was not approved.
          9. Following a cease-and-desist order in 1990, stopping the mining of the 32 acres, the owner had to have the property surveyed and proper metes and bounds were established so that the Zoning Inspector could easily look and determine if the excavation was not encroaching upon the restricted area. These metes and bounds have since been demolished.
          10. There is not site plan on file.
          11. There is no Restoration Plan on file.
          12. There is no Certificate of Compliance. The operation cannot run without one. See Sec 7.4 Certificates of zoning compliance for new, altered, or nonconforming.
          13. Lastly, the property is not Bonded to ensure compliance with a restoration plan. This leaves the taxpayers liable for restoration if the owner fails to comply with the restoration requirements.

          As outlined in Section 15 Complaints Regarding Violations, I expect The Zoning Inspector to follow the Sec 15.1 procedure:
          “Whenever a violation of this ordinance occurs, or is alleged to have occurred, any person may file a written complaint. Such complaint stating fully the causes and basis thereof shall be filed with the inspector. He shall record properly such complaint, immediately investigate, and take action thereon as provided by this ordinance. Within 14 days of such notification, the inspector shall notify the complainant of his findings and/or determinations in writing.”

          I request a copy of the Recorded Complaint as soon as it has been recorded by the Zoning Inspector
          If you need an APRA Request for the above mentioned “Recorded Complaint” please inform me of such immediately and I will provide one.

          Thank you,
          Jason Richer

  5. The “Old Mowry Cemetery” was reported to be off of Pound Hill Rd. in N. Smithfield, RI. In 1871 N. Smithfield became a separate town from Smithfield. So, if you look and see that Ahaz Mowry 1770-1856 was Buried on his farm, Smithfield, Providence, RI. this is the reason why you can only find and view the Ahaz Mowry Plat Map in the N. Smithfield Town records. It is hand painted on an almost canvas type material, but it is very fragile. You can also research more about Ahaz Mowry on the Whipple Database. The info is also in the book, “The Descendants of John Mowry”.

      • What you will also see when looking at the Plat Map which is of great historical significance, is the “Stone Monument”. That “Stone Monument” was the starting point of the famous “Seven Mile Line”. The Plat Map shows this “‘Stone Monument” was located on the North side of Douglas Pike, but it is also the Town Bound between residential N. Smithfield and Industrial Burrillville. As a teenager I witnessed first hand, at dusk several men wrestling this historical Stone Monument/Town Bound out of the ground! The N. Smithfield Town Bound which was also the starting point of the famous “Seven Mile Line” should be re-established by the Town of N. Smithfield. The Highway marker on the South side of Douglas Pike almost at the top of the hill has been mistaken by many as the Town Marker. The Old Plat Map has it all!

  6. I filed a zoning complaint on June 15th. I reminded the Town on July 15th. On August 10th during my meeting with the Administrator and the Zoning Inspector, I was informed by the Zoning Inspector that he had never seen the complaint. The complaint was forwarded to The Town Administrator on June 15th by the Town Clerk. Why was the zoning inspector kept in the dark? Town Ordinance calls for immediate recording of the complaint and inspection. To this day, I do not believe the complaint has been recorded nor has the site been inspected. This is dereliction of duty if not already completed. Has the Zoning Inspector investigated the possible violations? Has he recorded my complaint? It has been over two months now that the complaint was made.

    A lot can be extrapolated from their inaction. Why was Larry Enright not informed upon receipt June 15th by the Administrator? What’s interfering with Mr Enright’s ability or decision not to record the complaint and what is stopping him from inspecting the site?

    SECTION 15. COMPLAINTS REGARDING VIOLATIONS Sec.
    15.1. Procedure
    Whenever a violation of this ordinance occurs, or is alleged to have occurred, any person may
    file a written complaint with the Zoning Enforcement Officer. Such complaint shall be in writing and
    shall state fully the cause and basis for the complaint. The Zoning Enforcement Officer shall properly
    record the complaint, immediately investigate, taking action as needed thereon as provided by this
    ordinance. Within 14 days of the date the complaint was recorded, the inspector shall notify the
    complainant in writing of his findings and/or determinations. The complainant’s personal information
    shall remain confidential and shall not be divulged to the complainee, or any other person (including
    town employees and elected officials) without written authorization of the complainant as part of the
    original formal written complaint.

    Sec. 15.2.
    Notice of violation and response to violations.
    Any person or corporation having received a notice of violation, shall have 30 days to
    respond. If no response is received within 30 days the zoning inspector shall forward the matter
    to the town solicitor for further action.
    Violations shall be rectified within 30 days of the response to the Notice of Violation.

    If in the opinion of the zoning inspector, no attempt is made to rectify the violation, the matter shall
    be referred to the town solicitor for further action.
    An extension of 30 days may be granted if, in the opinion of the zoning inspector, the
    violator has made a reasonable attempt to comply but needs additional time to do so. Any
    violation not rectified within 90 days of the receipt of the notice of violation shall be forwarded
    to the town solicitor for further action.
    (Ord. of 3-16-98)

    The Town Clerk told me the Solicitor has been copied on all my correspondence.

      • Yes, APRA on the oaths that came back with No Responsive Documents. Despite the Ordinance that calls for them to take an oath. I also asked for employment contracts. On that I was told to look at the Town Charter.

        Sec. 4. Oath of office.
        Every officer of the town shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take and
        subscribe to the following oath or affirmation, to be filed and kept in the office of the town clerk:
        “You ______________(naming the person)______________ do solemnly swear (or,
        affirm) that you will be true and faithful unto this State and support the laws and Constitution
        of the United States; and that you will well and truly execute the office (naming the office) for
        the term for which you have been elected (or appointed), or until another be engaged in your
        place, or until you be legally discharged therefrom; so help you God (or this affirmation you
        make and give upon peril of the penalty of perjury).”

        The above comes from page 51 of The Town Charter https://www.nsmithfieldri.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif3596/f/uploads/charter_revised_4-3-15_per_ph.pdf

        • Perhaps it is time to file a letter of intent with the Bond Holder which in this case is a blanket bond for the Town with the Interlocal Trust. They will likely deny the coverage as the Town is not in good standing with following the laws they have on the books. An official has to adhere to the terms of the bond to be covered or they individual is on their own to be sued.

      • Yes I did an APRA for their Oaths and it came back with no responsive docs. I was told they don’t take oaths IIRC. I’ll have to dig up the APRA response to be sure. One thing is for sure, the Town does not have copies of oaths of office for the elected and appointed individuals I requested, the Administrator, the Police Chief and the Director of DPW. No employment contracts either. For that I was told to look at the Town Charter for duties and responsibilities.

        Page 51 in the Town Charter https://www.nsmithfieldri.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif3596/f/uploads/charter_revised_4-3-15_per_ph.pdf

        Sec. 4. Oath of office.
        Every officer of the town shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take and
        subscribe to the following oath or affirmation, to be filed and kept in the office of the town clerk:
        “You ______________(naming the person)______________ do solemnly swear (or,
        affirm) that you will be true and faithful unto this State and support the laws and Constitution
        of the United States; and that you will well and truly execute the office (naming the office) for
        the term for which you have been elected (or appointed), or until another be engaged in your
        place, or until you be legally discharged therefrom; so help you God (or this affirmation you
        make and give upon peril of the penalty of perjury).”

        Another Ordinance not being followed? Hmmmm….

          • Not likely. They probably think the Interlocal Trust will cover them. If they are not sticking to the requirements of the bond, which no doubt is connected to them doing their jobs in good faith and properly, the bond issuer has no reason to cover them.
            They’ve exposed the taxpayers to liability. If someone were to fall off or ride an ATV off the unprotected cliffs, the insurance company would no doubt go after the Town as well for not enforcing the laws on the books and not doing yearly inspections as are required. Had they, the unsafe condition would not exist.
            What happens when there is no bond for the town per acre as required and the material runs out? If the owner abandons these open pit mines, the taxpayers will be stuck with the remediation of the sites, turning them back to their natural states.
            If there is an MVA involving one of these trucks (God forbid it is with a school bus) that should be permitted and is not, the insurance company could also come after the town for not enforcing the 35K weight permits and the restrictions that come with it.
            These ordinances were put on the books by the Town Council for a reason. What is the reason they have been abandoned across the board?

            • Filing a letter of intent with the Bond Holder should reveal to the taxpayers of N. S. just how fully exposed their backsides may be at this point in time.

  7. Interesting article, it gives us all a reason to question every decision our town leaders make and look behind the scenes for questionable allowances made to local businesses. Everyone should be conscious of the fact that town employees work for the taxpayers of this town, along with every elected official. We all need to hold them accountable! Good luck Mr. Richer.

  8. This is the same thing I went to the TC about a few months ago. I was told basically to shut up and go away. Everything Mr. Richer said (I was at this meeting) was like hearing my exact complaint about a certain cemetery. “The Keene’s can do no wrong in this town” stated a TC member. I guess we’ll see if the Pezza’s can do no wrong. We are a town of gravel operations and solar panels. THANK YOU Mr. Richer for going after the big boys. You have a lot of people behind you.

  9. Place has been in business for 40 years or more. Passed on from Dad to Son. They supply needed material to localities including the town. This guy wants to shut them down over a name change that should be grandfathered

    • No Bill, Pat said it right, the businesses AND local leader should be held accountable. Just shows others that you can get away with ANYTHING in this town. Just look at your neighbors… no one cares about the laws anymore. Everyone thinks it’s their land and they can do what they want. Great if you don’t live near an aquifer or wetlands. If you have a business you need to get it licensed, but, why bother in NS?

    • Yes, and to be honest there need to be many more stirrers in this Town. There are Zoning complaints, bypasses and selective enforcement for years. Jason is not the only one complaining here. Residents are complaining about Green Development, illegal dumping, wetlands not being protected, wellhead protection areas, etc. I don’t necessarily blame the Zoning board for these issues, I believe that our Town Council shares much of the blame by circumventing Zoning in the development of the Overlay District…just about anything goes….however, if you are disturbed by a bus graveyard that problem will be resolved…it all depends on who you are and the power that you yield. We need to protect our town and it is time for a new slate of candidates.

      • SECTION 4.
        NONCONFORMING LOTS, NONCONFORMING USES OF LAND, NONCONFORMING
        STRUCTURES, NONCONFORMING USES OF STRUCTURES AND PREMISES, AND
        NONCONFORMING CHARACTERISTICS OF USE

        Sec. 4.1. Intent

        Within the districts established by this ordinance or amendments that may later be adopted there
        exist:
        (a) Lots,
        (b) Structures,
        (c) Uses of land and structures, and
        (d) Characteristics of use which were lawful before this ordinance was passed or amended, but which would be prohibited, regulated, or restricted under the terms of this ordinance or future amendment.

        _______________________________________________________
        It is the intent of this ordinance to permit these nonconformities to continue until they are removed, but not to encourage their survival.

        It is further the intent of this ordinance that nonconformities shall not be enlarged upon, expanded or extended;
        ____________________________________________________

        nor be used as grounds for adding other structures of uses prohibited elsewhere in
        the same district. This provision shall not apply to the expansion, extension or enlargement of residential structures located in residential districts which expansion, extension or enlargement may be granted by way of special-use permit.

  10. “I’m going to leave it to his judgement to pace himself in how he handles these things,” Zwolenski said.

    https://www.nsmithfieldri.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif3596/f/uploads/section_7.pdf

    Sec. 7.1. Administration and enforcement.
    A Zoning Inspector, hereinafter referred to as an Inspector, shall be designated to administer and
    enforce this ordinance. He may be provided with the assistance of such other persons as required. The
    Inspector shall have minimum qualifications as set forth by the Town Administrator and approved by
    the Town Council.
    He is not a judicial officer and shall not exercise quasi-judicial authority granted solely to the
    Board. He shall not issue special use permit or variances. His discretion is bounded by the ordinance,
    and he has no authority to mitigate the severity of the application of the ordinance to individuals.
    Appeals lie from his decision only to the Board.

    (This Below states the Zoning Inspector has the only say…. JR)

    No other person(s) or no Board(s) shall have authority
    to overrule his decisions excepting the Zoning Board, as provided in this ordinance, or order that he
    grant a specific permit or take a particular action while he is in office except indirectly through the
    amending of this ordinance. If the Inspector shall find that any of the provisions of this ordinance are
    being violated, he shall, prior to the close of the following Town workday, notify by certified or
    registered mail, the person responsible for such violations, indicate the nature of the violation and order
    the action necessary to correct it. He shall order discontinuance of illegal use of land, buildings, or
    structures; removal of illegal buildings or structures or of illegal additions, alterations, or structural
    changes; discontinuance of any illegal work being done; or shall take any other action authorized by this
    ordinance or law to ensure compliance with or to prevent violation of its provisions.

    • Is anyone in town willing to come forward and say what happened to the “Old Mowry Cemetery” that existed on the Old Ahaz Mowry farm, a portion of which appears to now be a part of the parcel in question? The cemetery used to be visited by the locals that lived on Pine Hill Rd. One of my neighbors who was an older gentleman and a retired police officer, in tears told me all about how he and his family use to enjoy a hike out the back of Pine Hill Rd. to visit the “Old Mowry Cemetery” and that one day he hiked out to find that it was totally gone! The story he told me gets much worse, he was afraid, and said that he didn’t want to be involved! That old parcel is still chucked full of Indian burial mounds around what is called “Ridge Hill”. And finally I find it ironic that the name of the Fire Marshal that use to sign off on the blasting permits was named “Bob” Mowry!

  11. Wow! Good catch, Mr. Richer. This will surely be a juicy story of greed and arrogance that everyone in town should be concerned about, instead of silly debates about the new turf and building.

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