The recent Falmouth Board of Health decision allowing a trash hauler to begin collecting as early as 2 AM has elicited opposition from Falmouth residents.
“What happened to the town bylaw that stops this practice? I love Falmouth and I want it quiet,” Daniel Cunha of Morin Avenue said at the Falmouth Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday, July 14.
Mr. Cunha lives behind Davis Straits and has been a vocal opponent of haulers picking up dumpsters throughout the night. He sponsored a Town Meeting warrant article in 2003 prohibiting commercial trash collection any time other than 7 AM to 7 PM. The restriction is part of Falmouth’s town code.
The board of health recently approved Carl F. Cavossa Jr.’s request by granting him a license to begin commercial trash pickup at 2 AM. His company, Cavossa Disposal, is one of five commercial trash haulers licensed to operate in Falmouth.
So far, Mr. Cavossa is the only trash hauler who has requested to begin trash pickup early in the morning.
Town code also specifies that the the board of health can extend the normal 7 AM to 7 PM hauling license if they deem it is necessary for public health reasons.1
“I want to know what criteria was presented to the board to show this is necessary for public health,” Falmouth resident Adrian C.J. Dufresne said. “This is not a public health issue, but an issue of convenience for haulers who don’t want to deal with traffic.”
Resident John S. Elliot echoed that sentiment and said the decision was fueled by “the almighty dollar,” not health concerns.
At the June 30 board of health meeting, board member George Heufelder said trucks backing up on sidewalks teeming with pedestrians and traffic pose a public safety issue.
“Our trucks spend 50 percent of their life in reverse when collecting trash. Although there haven’t been any incidents yet, I want to ensure no one gets injured,” Mr. Cavossa said earlier at the board of health meeting. He mentioned his drivers have difficulty navigating through Woods Hole, especially in the summer with the uptick in traffic to and from the Steamship Authority.
He also said at that same meeting, as part of a concession, that he would disengage the back-up alarm on his trucks until sunrise to limit noise complaints, but Mr. Dufresne called this action illegal and unsafe.
On June 30, the board of health issued Mr. Cavossa a trash hauler license for off hours, allowing his trucks to begin picking up dumpsters at 2 AM. The board agreed the license should expire in six months and can be revoked if certain conditions are not met. If the board members are satisfied that Mr. Cavossa is adequately addressing any resident complaints, they will issue Mr. Cavossa a full-year license in December.
Selectmen did not address the complaints on July 14 because the issue was raised during the public comment portion of the meeting and was not on the agenda.
Correction - July 15, 2014 at 1:55 PM: 1. Changed the word selectmen to board of health in this sentence.