GLOCESTER – In September of this year, the J.R. Vinagro Corporation purchased an ongoing earth removal operation on Putnam Pike, adjacent to Pinewood Park area, previously owned by the Adler Bros. Corporation. When Joseph Vinagro recently came before the Glocester Town Council for approval of the new license, however, some neighbors expressed their apprehension about granting it.
“Am I understanding this right, that you’re simply asking for everything that Adler was approved for?” Council Vice President Stephen W. Arnold asked Vinagro’s lawyer Timothy Kane.
“This is the same,” responded Kane. “It’s the same operation.”
The change of ownership, however, left unanswered questions, at least as far as neighbors were concerned.
“I’ve never complained about the Adler Bros.,” Gary King, an abutting neighbor, told the council. “Everything they ever did at the gravel bank was always clean. They are not going to run the same operation as the Adler Bros. did. I guarantee you, they’re not.”
King told the council he was concerned about increased truck traffic through Chepachet Village and on Route 44, in general, due to the fact that Vinagro is a much bigger corporation than Adler’s, with more resources to enable them to move more gravel.
“I oppose this, and I’m sure the other people who live alongside that thing oppose it too,” he added. “Don’t do it. Or I am coming for you. I’ll come up and sit on this council and all these shenanigans will stop.”
Matthew Lamontagne, another neighbor, echoed King’s sentiments, adding that he has concerns about noise and air quality, as well.
“I really never had a problem with the Adlers,” he said. “They did run a pretty classy operation over there. I have no idea what this company is all about.”
He asked the council if any environmental impact studies had been done, and questioned how much of the, “mountain,” was going to be removed. The land includes a large hill bordering Route 44.
Council President William Worthy said that the earth removal plans have been in place since 1989, when all of the present permits and licenses were granted.
“As far as I know, they were never going to take down that mountain,” said Worthy. “The plans I saw years ago do not go on to the top of the mountain.”
Those plans included developing the land into an industrial park once materials had been removed.
“If there were any problems with that, I’m sure DEM would have brought those all up,” Worthy added of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. “I can’t imagine a big company, like Vinagro, who’s coming in here, wouldn’t be working with DEM.”
Kane assured the council that the operation was fully permitted through the DEM.
“So this has already been looked at, DEM has already stamped it?” Worthy asked Kane. “Once it is approved as this, it’s that. The only thing that’s different is the ownership of the property. This isn’t a new design, a new concept….”
Kane said it was the same plan and licenses.
Douglas Folcarelli, who was on the Planning Board when the industrial park element was added, told the council that everyone was, “ecstatic,” when the plan was originally approved.
“I just want you to know that back in 2017, everyone wanted it back then,” he said. “Because it is a different contractor, it shouldn’t be denied.”
“My only concern is: Adler Bros. has always been courteous with their trucks cutting through the village,” said Charlie Wilson, who lives in Chepachet Village and owns the Town Trader. “They always obey the speed limits. They always came through nice and courteous, covers over their loads. I hope the new company is going to have the same respect for us as the Adlers did.”
Kane told the council that 80 percent of the traffic would go to Route 295, adding that their plans included developing the industrial park after materials had been removed. Because Vinagro is a bigger company, he said, they will make it happen faster, but that it would still take time.
The council unanimously approved the two year license.