Sweet Peet composting hearing is Nov. 23

CORNWALL — A public hearing on the proposed Sweet Peet composting operation on Cream Hill will be held Monday, Nov. 23, at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall. The project has the needed permits from the town and the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), but is facing a second appeal launched by neighbors.

According to Zoning Enforcement Officer Karen Nelson, this is an entirely different appeal from the one filed in the summer that sent the proposal to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

A previous appeal, brought by Kathleen O’Flinn, sought to overturn a ruling by the Planning and Zoning Commission that found the project met zoning requirements as an agricultural use. Property owners Charlie and Ralph Gold, who are partnering as Cream Hill Farm LLC with Sweet Peet of CT LLC, responded with petition signatures and e-mails of support from more than 40 residents.

New appeals have been filed by Kathleen and Peter O’Flinn, and by Lois Reddington, this time appealing the zoning permit signed by Nelson on the condition all state permit requirements were met.

However, the crux of the appeal remains the same. Those filing the appeal contend that neither the zoning permit nor DEP permit consider off-site impacts, such as truck traffic generated by the operation. They want a more involved look at all aspects of the project.

The property atop Cream Hill planned for composting is about three acres, allowing for a relatively small operation. Raw and composted materials will be trucked in and off site in bulk. The Golds estimate an average of less than one truck per day.

Sweet Peet is a premium mulch produced by composting horse manure-contaminated wood shavings. It is marketed as a product that does not draw nutrients from soil as other mulches do. Environmentalists say it is helping to ease the issue of disposing of waste bedding from the area’s proliferation of horse farms. Horse manure is not used for fertilizing agricultural fields. Horses do not digest as thoroughly as cows, passing whole seeds that cause weeds. It is often dumped in unusable areas on farms, such as wetlands.

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