Carl F. Cavossa Jr. was before the Falmouth Planning Board the evening of Tuesday, April 7, for a special permit to use a portion of his property for food waste disposal in front of a room packed with dissenters.
Mr. Cavossa’s proposed plan would allow him to park and service municipal solid waste trucks and dumpsters, aggregate two 100-square yard dumpsters of cardboard a week, and process up to 30,000 tons of organic material, again, per week, into compost for resale on his property at 210 Nathan Ellis Highway. Mr. Cavossa’s attorney, Jeffrey W. Oppenheim, outlined his client’s site plans, assuring the board and community that the property was “well positioned for this use” and anticipated the weekly treatment of 1,000 tons of food waste.
The board, claiming familiarity with the property from a long-standing history of issuing special permits, had few questions before chairman Patricia H. Kerfoot opened the floor for public comment, which was largely opposed to the issuance of more special permits to the Cavossa Disposal Corporation.
Those opposed felt his plan to add food waste to his already existing business of construction waste disposal was a departure from concrete, and they were concerned that Mr. Cavossa would not comply with the management necessary to maintain odor- and pathogen-free conditions on his property if given permission to convert municipal solid waste into compost, a process that takes 90 days of highly monitored treatment in accordance with the town board of health.
Others, primarily neighbors to Mr. Cavossa’s property, thought his idea to compost food waste was a good one for the environment in general, but a bad idea for the specific domain of Ballymeade and other surrounding areas that Mr. Cavossa’s property abuts.
Ryan Mann of Cloverfield Way, the first to speak against the plan, said he was not sent a notice of the meeting because his property does not technically abut the property since it is across train tracks. Mr. Mann, referring to himself as “the rat man,” as people have been calling him that since he spoke about his concern about the rodents at the last Town Meeting, said, “Three months of rotting meat makes me an abutter.” He also added that composting was not mentioned at the November Town Meeting when Mr. Cavossa’s property was rezoned.
Other neighbors followed Mr. Mann, repeatedly stating their opposition, with their number-one reason being the smell of large quantities of food waste sitting in the summer sun.
Margaret G. Nicholson, a member of the Ballymeade community, questioned what type of special permit Mr. Cavossa was applying for, the visibility of the compost pile, and what agency or agencies would be overseeing and enforcing the plan to control odor, and what recourse would they have should this plan go awry.
Mr. Oppenheim answered by stating “since the Department of Environmental Protection issues the permits on a state level, I assume they have the ability to enforce it.” He further stated that he assumed the board of health would have the authority to step in if issues concerning odor arose. He did not think visibility would be an issue, saying “chances are” the berm would obstruct the pile’s view.
Peter Nielsen of North Falmouth said he appreciated both sides of the issue, but added that if the permit was approved, it could “open up a can of worms” and expressed concern of “Falmouth becoming a transfer station for Cape Cod.”
After public comment, Ms. Kerfoot continued the hearing until Tuesday, April 21, at 6:30 in Falmouth Town Hall.
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