Oak Bluffs officials asked to do some homework
To the Editor:
This is the letter from Little Pond Road Association to the Oak Bluffs selectmen, asking them to address the expansion of the Goodale Construction Company sand and gravel pit and the environmental and safety issues concerning the surrounding community.
Recent events regarding the expansion of Goodale's sand and gravel pit have raised a number of questions and concerns on the part of local, neighboring and community residents. On each occasion when we inquire about the expansion, we are informed that it is zoned R3 and that the company has unlimited and unrestricted rights to expand (grandfathered). This explanation falls short in that there are issues regarding public safety, public health, and responsible community behavior.
Numerous attempts to reach out to owner/operator Jeremy Goodale have either been unnoticed or ignored. There has been no attempt on his part or a representative of the company to reach out or otherwise inform the concerned parties.
We believe there is intent to wantonly and irresponsibly expand the sand and gravel pit at the expense of public safety, public health, and the general community welfare.
As such, we respectfully ask the town of Oak Bluffs to inquire and determine the following:
What permission has Goodale's been granted to expand? What legal entity was given those rights/permissions? When were they given/granted and by what authority? What was grandfathered and to whom, and by whom was it granted? Has that legal entity remained in existence? Have any rights/permissions been conveyed to another entity? Has the business operated as a legal and viable business entity, with a board of directors, minutes of board meetings, and is the company properly capitalized?
Also, what, if any, special permitting has been approved over the past 10 years and by whose authority? What research has been conducted relative to: the water table ( within the entire area ) as it affects the community; the watershed as it affects Lagoon and Duarte's Pond? Who is responsible for inspecting and overseeing the current topography and log of soil borings conducted by Goodale's? By what authority has Goodale's been granted permission to allow the use of firearms, i.e. guns, rifles, 50-caliber, and automatic weapons on the gravel pit site, and the impact of lead in the ground and possible contamination of the water (aquifer) as a result of the shooting done in the pit, the rules/regulations regarding shooting/shooting ranges?
What EPA violations have been observed/documented, the safety regarding the lack of fencing or protective barriers to prevent falls? Is there proper liability insurance in place, should there be an incident/accident. OSHA violations that have been observed/documented? What liability does the town of OB have? Rights/permissions to cut the gravel/sand pit within 50 feet of the road? What property belongs to the town (road), and is the expansion in violation of the town's zoning by-laws? Clarification of where Watcha Road and Checama Path meet, and are they classified with the town of Oak Bluffs as a public way? Are there proper permits in place for the production of asphalt on Goodale's property? Has there been any engineered testing and monitoring of the air and water quality of the neighboring communities and to identify new structure in asphalt plant area and its use? What EPA or OCHA violations have been observed/documented? Is there oversight of the Goodale operation regarding depth, width, and public safety? Who and how often? Are the records available to the public? Has Goodale Construction Company Inc. developed a reclamation plan? If so what is it? If not, why not? If a plan is in place, is it acceptable and properly funded? What happens if the Company files a Chapter 7? What is the extent of the town of OB's exposure should there be no reclamation plan? What is the extent of the town of OB's exposure should the company file Chapter 7?
In conclusion, there has been a lack of reasoned response, attention, or concern regarding the above matters.
Our request is that you conduct the necessary research of the above, in an effort to assure yourselves, the town of Oak Bluffs, and the Martha's Vineyard community at large as to the rights, privileges, permissions and actions of the Goodale Construction Company Inc.
We suggest a moratorium until such matters are thoroughly investigated and resolved.
Thank you for your time and consideration in looking out for the future of our community.
For the Little Pond Association