Nobody Will Notice, Right?

Dec 3, 2011

This past January Thomas Michael Kitchens moved across Cranberry Highway to number 3127 when they purchased the property (the former Robertson dealership across from Barnacle Bills). In June, a recycling company, Atlantic Metal Recycling, appeared at the same location and Cyndi Murray wrote an article about it for Wareham Week (see The business seemed similar to the jewelers who will buy your gold and silver. Wareham needs businesses to come here to provide economic growth, and particularly along Cranberry Highway. This was good news.


Fast forward to the present and it appears that Atlantic Metal Recycling has big plans. They have applied to the Town for a zoning variance so that they can install a 45-foot long outdoor scale (to weigh trucks), 6 loading lanes, and 6 recycling bins, each 10-feet wide. Their plan also calls for an 8-foot high chain link fence the full 200-feet depth of the eastern side of the property, and also about 100-feet along Cranberry Highway to the entrance to the scale. This scale is only set back from the roadway 54 feet, and the plan doesn’t provide for any turning radius/room off the roadway into the property. There are several real concerns raised by this proposal, which is due to be reviewed by the Zoning Board of Appeals at a public hearing on Wednesday, December 14, 2011. Perhaps they truly believed that nobody would notice! It appears that the town officials who should have noticed, did not.


The abutters have noticed. Just behind this property is Baypoint Golf Course, and right behind this property are the condominiums known as Baypoint Village. They are noticing, and objecting on solid grounds that the location of this type of business is a violation of the Zoning By-Laws. They’re right! John and Deborah McGonnell of 36 Bay Pointe Drive, Onset, have written a letter which explains their points so well that it would be best to share it here in the hopes that other “neighbors” to this business and its’ proposed growth, as well all concerned citizens, are aware of this issue and can choose to attend the hearing with a better understanding of the issue.


Date:    November 29, 2011


To:        Kenneth Ferreira, Chairman, Zoning Board of Appeals


cc:        Selectmen Walter Cruz, Stephen Holmes, Cara Winslow, Ellen Begley, Michael Schneider ,           Mark Andrews, Town Administrator,  John Charbonneau, Planning Dept. , Myles Burke, Inspectional Services


From:    John and Deborah McGonnell, 36 Bay Pointe Drive, Onset


Re:       ZBA Public Hearing – December 14, 2011, Atlantic Metal Recycling, 3127 Cranberry Highway, Wareham


Dear Mr. Ferreira:


Per notice to us from the Town of Wareham, Atlantic Metal Recycling is applying to enlarge its current operation to include an outdoor metal recycling area with a drive-on scale to weigh materials in an “SC” zoning district.  The plan on file with this request for variance shows the installation of a 45-foot long scale (above ground) as well as six loading lanes and six large “bins” surrounded by concrete block walls for metals of various types. (See attached partial portion of plan.)  One of these bins would be within ten feet of the side line of the property.


The property at 3127 Cranberry Highway is in a Strip Commercial (CS) zoning district.  According to our Zoning Bylaws (page 7): “The CS district is intended to promote large-scale retail and service development in defined areas along Cranberry Highway.”  Further (on page 8), regarding Industrial Districts:  “The IND district is intended to promote industrial and office uses and to permit compatible commercial uses.”


Under # 358 Industrial Uses / Salvage Yards, our Zoning Bylaws (page 19) state:  “A facility or area for storing, keeping, selling, dismantling, or salvaging scrap metal or discarded material or equipment.”   The business at Atlantic Metal Recycling would fall under Industrial Uses, not Strip Commercial.


Under # 371 Junk Yards, our Zoning Bylaws (page 20) state:  “Such use shall be set back a minimum of 500 feet from any lot line or any public or private way.”   Although it might be argued that a salvage yard is not a junk yard, they are quite similar.  Even our Zoning Bylaws (in the Principal Use table on page 13) combine the two in the same line item.  The relatively small lot in question does not come anywhere close to providing a 500-foot buffer on any of the four sides of the property.  According to the plan filed by the petitioner, the lot itself is less than 200 feet deep on its east side from Cranberry Highway to the rear lot line and only 208 feet deep on its west side.  In fact, this proposed operation would be conducted front and center on one of our community’s main thoroughfares with the above-ground scale to be located within 56 feet of Cranberry Highway, a number of homes less than 500 feet from the rear lot line, and one of the concrete block structures a mere 10 feet from the east side line. 


Although Myles Burke informed us yesterday that the current work being performed at Atlantic Metal Recycling is supposed to be conducted entirely indoors at this point, that is not the case.  We have heard outdoor work going on for some time now and saw it in progress on November 28, as we expect John Charbonneau did when he visited the Bay Pointe Village property yesterday.  Even though the materials that we observed being dumped appeared to be relatively small in size, the noise (from the dumping and the piercing vehicle back-up alarms), was anything but.  Adding to the overall unsightliness of the property are metal containers, roll-off truck bodies, piles of automotive parts and numerous containers of various shapes and sizes.  The installation of a scale that would accommodate heavy, diesel-powered tandem axle and tri-axle trucks, plus six additional loading lanes and six large concrete-enclosed bins, would allow dumping to increase dramatically, bringing even more noise and other nuisances related to a salvage yard to residential neighborhoods as well as to surrounding businesses. (See attached photos and aerial views.)


The Wareham Zoning Bylaws were put in place for valid reasons.  We are very much in favor of recycling efforts, but a metal recycling facility is an undisputed industrial use and should be located in one of Wareham’s industrial districts.  While we recognize and encourage the need to increase business along Cranberry Highway, a metal recycling facility does not belong in a Strip Commercial zoning district, especially one that is a main gateway to our community and in close proximity to several residential neighborhoods.  (See attached neighborhood aerial view.)


As abutters, we have tried to ignore the noise issues to date.  That would no longer be remotely possible if this special permit and/or variance were to be granted.  The metal-on-metal din from dumping, coupled with engine noise, rumbling trucks, back-up alarms, etc., would be unrelenting.  Entirely aside from a major increase in noise throughout the area surrounding this parcel, as year-round residents of this community we are categorically opposed to the location of this industrial use business in a strip commercial zone.  This small parcel of land is slightly over one acre and will become even smaller when the roadway is widened by the State.  It is completely unsuited for this type of use.   We respectfully request your consideration and that of your Board of the issues raised in this letter.  We will be in attendance at the public hearing on December 14.



John and Deborah McGonnell