Oak Bluffs asphalt plant faces shutdown order in ZBA hearing


The Oak Bluffs zoning board of appeals (ZBA) will determine at a public hearing on June 21 whether a special permit is needed for an already constructed asphalt storage tower.

The asphalt plant, operated by White Brothers – Lynch Corporation, on land leased from Goodale Construction Company in Oak Bluffs, is the subject of complaints by people who live near the Goodale sand pit. They say the tower is the source of noxious fumes, and they are concerned about health risks.

Gerald Lynch, of White Brothers – Lynch Corporation, declined any comment on the dispute.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission considered the sand and gravel operation, as well as the asphalt plant, and declined to review it as a development of regional impact.

Former Oak Bluffs building inspector Jerry Weiner determined that no special permit was needed after the White Brothers – Lynch replaced an older tower with a higher structure in the spring of 2011.

But after Mr. Weiner retired, acting building inspector Jim Dunn ruled that a special permit was needed. The plant is exempt from zoning regulations because it was operating before the town enacted zoning laws, though a special permit is required for any expansion or change of use.

Mr. Dunn ruled that the tower was an expansion of use. He ordered the company to stop using the tower, which stores hot mixed asphalt for a short time before it is loaded onto trucks. He held up enforcement of the order until the ZBA can sort out the issues.

The company appealed that order to the ZBA. If the ZBA rules a special permit is required, the plant owners could apply for a permit, which would trigger a process of public hearings, deliberation, and a decision.

The public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 21, at the Council on Aging building, 21 Wamsutta Avenue, at 8 pm.