Bulfamante Landscaping Use Variance-Compost 3501 Route 22
Dover Plains, N.Y.
Chair Blackman began stating the last time Mr. Bulfamante was before the Board they tried to establish a timeline of when the property was purchased and what was done on the property. The new Zoning Code was 2007 and Mr. Bulfamante purchased the property in 2009. At that time he cleared the trees and chopped them up to make mulch and compost which he then sold. Mr. Bulfamante stated it was between 45,000-50,000 yards and was sold to Fordham University. Mr. Blackman noted that at the last meeting. Mr. Bulfamante stated that there was a continuing landscaping and composting use prior to the purchase of the property. Mr. Bulfamante continued it was an active nursery and the first thing we did was to bring the land back to be farmable, so cleared it, made compost and mulch and then planted several thousand trees. There was a huge problem for two to three winters with the deer. The soil has a heavy gravel content. Commercially it was not worth the effort, so he ceased operations.
Chair Blackman asked what volume would be produced by a new facility? Mr. Bulfamante answered 80,000 to 100,000 yards. Mr. Bulfamante explained under DEC up to 3,000 yards needs no permit/registration; up to l 0,000 yards is a registration and above 10,000 yards is a DEC permit. DEC had asked where the yard waste would come from and was told Westchester County. DEC suggested he apply for a permit as the county produces 180,000 to 200,000 yards of plant per year (not all of which would come to Mr. Bulfamante's facility). DEC came down and inspected the property to see if it met their guidelines and he claimed they are OK with it. Mr. Blackman asked if he had a letter from DEC? Mr. Bulfamante explained that a new DEC worker had taken over his inquiry today, and he promised to be in touch soon. Bulfamante would like to get in 2000-3000 yards as initial inventory. If the project goes further he will need to buy very expensive and large equipment. He has visited numerous compost sites in the Northeast and Texas. Any waste that comes to his property would allegedly be manifested by DEC. Once the facility is operational DEC is very involved. They would also have a certified scale on site.
Chair Blackman noted that the Code something of this scale would be considered a solid waste facility. If so, the process would need to be done in a building and money set aside for inspections. But a solid waste facility is not allowed in Amenia. Mr. Everett stated it makes exception for the municipality. He continued legally it is a struggle on how this could be permitted. The Code is clear that solid waste management facilities as defined by DEC are prohibited anywhere in the Town. He continued the ZBA could grant a use variance, which Mr. Bulfamante has applied for. But a use variance is governed by four very strict standards. The first standard is to prove that for every other use that is allowed in the Zoning District he can't make any money (using financial evidence). Since all uses are permitted in the OC District, that seems near impossible.
Mr. Everett noted another option is agriculture use, as composting is allowed (but only if it is related to Ag products that are made or used on the property). Obviously, bringing in yard waste from Westchester is unrelated to the site. A third option is the continuation of a non-conforming use. There was a nursery prior but it is unclear whether they were com posting. If so, the Code for non-conforming use would require it to have been of the same size as he is proposing now. The Lopane Nursery did not have that kind of operation. Mr. Everett went back to three old Zoning Code books and could find nothing that was designated as a ··nursery clause". Under an old Code (which is not included in the new Code) there was a forest nursery, but it does not say anything about composting. Non-conforming must also be continuous and have not ceased operation for more than one year. So the ZBA is out of options to justify a variance. The best approach now for Mr. Bulfamante is to go to the Town Board and request a zoning change. It will be up to the applicant to make their case to the Town Board about why this use is good for the Town (environmentally and financially). Then the Town Board will make a determination.
Paula Pelosi felt solid waste management facility sounds like sewage. Mr. Everett stated there is a very detailed definition of solid waste management facility in the DEC regulations. It includes lots of specifics. There is a separate chapter that deals just with yard waste. Kevin Cassone asked Mr. Bulfamante if he would be just turning yard waste into compost and does he add any chemicals? Mr. Bulfamante stated it was completely natural.
It was brought up that on the site of the old transfer station they are making "sweet peat' (also a composted product). It was also noted that this use had never been approved by the Town.
Ms. Pelosi felt that Mr. Bulfamante should request a Zoning Change from the Town Board. Mr. Bulfamante agreed. He claimed when the property was purchased 2008-2009, under nursery exemptions and clauses, one could accept material and process it for future sale, but not in any large capacity. DEC i s now pushing for composting sites. His application is in with DEC and he is just waiting to see if the town will permit this. Dave Menegat asked if there was any money in this for DEC? Mr. Bulfamante stated they get a minimal supervising fee. Terry Metcalfe noted that Mr. Bulfamante's only recourse is to go to the Town Board for a Zoning Code change.
From the audience, Ms. Perotti stated Mr. Bulfamante would be welcome to make a presentation to the Town Board, about changing the zoning code to allow composting. Mr. Everett added it would be a text amendment to the code which must be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. Gretchen Hitselberger suggested the ZBA make a statement to the Board as to whether they feel it was a positive or negative thing for the town. or specifically state they had no comment at this time. Statements from the neighbors stating that smells based on wind shift. or noise pollution
from trucks wouldn’t be a problem would be helpful. Her final point is the financial one, the applicant should explain what benefit his business will bring to the town.
Tom Werner asked if there was a trailer on the property? Mr. Bulfarnante stated it was a home with a full basement from Sherwood Homes. Mr. Werner then asked if there was a letter stating DEC approved the composting. Mr. Blackman felt that would be important to bring to the Town Board. Mr. Werner felt there were burial grounds on Mr. Bulfamante's property, who stated there were none. He continued the house that is there now will house two workers and in the
future become an office for the facility. He hope to start a bagging operation which could sustain
8-12 jobs in a new local business. We will welcome any yard waste that Amenia can bring at no charge. It would be ground down and he's provide the Town with the end product. Chair Blackman suggested they bring to the Town Board also a site plan as to how the property will be used. Mr. Bulfamante said Peter Moon will be designing the facility. He is from Washington state so wants the project to be a little further along with approvals before he begins site design. He has designed 17 facilities in the state of New York and has just finished one in Kingston. Mr. Bulfamante said the property had been reviewed by DEC and does not fall in the 100 year flood plain or the aquifer overlay. Mr. Blackman said if this becomes a permitted use, it will need site plan approval from the Planning Board.
Terry Metcalfe felt Mr. Everett's statement that ··since a compost facility is prohibited under the present Zoning Code, Mr. Bulfamante needs to go to the Town Board to seek a text amendment to the Zoning Code in order to proceed" deserved a vote.
MOTION TO ACCEPT THE ABOVE STATEMENT TO THE TOWN BOARD was made by
Chair Blackman, seconded by Dave Menegat
VOTE TAKEN - MOTION CARRIED