Goodwin bill requires neighborhood impact to be considered in licensing of waste management facilities
Legislator also asks state officials to reject proposed Fairlawn transfer station
STATE HOUSE – Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin is calling upon state officials to reject the proposal to site a transfer station on Concord Street in Pawtucket’s Fairlawn neighborhood, and has introduced legislation requiring the state to consider the impact on surrounding neighborhoods before approving such facilities.
Senator Goodwin’s bill would require state officials to give “great weight to the detrimental impact that the placement of such a facility shall have on its surrounding communities” before approving solid waste management facilities. The proposed facility is close to her Providence district. Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) cosponsored the bill (2018-S 2026), which was introduced Jan. 11.
“This is absolutely the wrong location for such a facility. The proposed site is just one block from a densely populated residential neighborhood, and is also in close proximity to restaurants and other businesses which would be detrimentally impacted if a transfer station were to be situated almost adjacent to their operations,” Senator Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) wrote in letters to the Department of Environmental Management and state officials. “As the state Senator representing District 1, which includes the Providence neighborhood abutting the proposed transfer station, I have talked to many constituents who are justly worried about their quality of life. They have public safety and environmental concerns about how the neighborhood in which they are raising their children would be impacted by a transfer station next door.”
In her letter, she says increased litter, rodents, noise pollution and traffic congestion in an already-congested area are inappropriate for a site abutting a residential area. One of the reasons cited for moving the facility from its existing location, on Grotto Avenue in Pawtucket, is heavy commercial traffic in a non-industrial area. Those same problems, plus a lack of on-site parking, exist at the proposed Concord Street location, and the proposed facility could result in traffic backup along Smithfield Avenue, Nellie Street and Colfax Street, she says.
“Our concerns are well-founded. The current transfer station site has been plagued by complaints about unsightly piles of trash, wretched smells, and traffic congestion. According to recent news accounts, there exists a lack of trust between the city and the operator, Link Environmental, and that Link has not fulfilled its existing contractual obligations at the current facility,” she wrote.
The proposal has outraged Fairlawn residents, who staged a protest a Pawtucket City Hall in December. The Pawtucket City Council voted unanimously to ask Mayor Donald Grebien to table the plan. The city is now working with the Hassenfeld Institute at Bryant University to develop a plan to consider community impact of any plan to replace the Grotto Avenue facility.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903