GEORGETOWN — A local trash disposal company wants to make its transfer station in town even larger, but a group of residents has formed to talk a lot less trash.
Georgetown-based G Mello Disposal Corp. plans to build a 500-ton-per-day transfer station on Carleton Drive near Interstate 95. The project has already been approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals and is before the Planning Board and the Conservation Commission.
Mello's plan has met with opposition from residents who started a nonprofit organization, Residents for 50 Tons, and launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover their legal costs.
According to Residents for 50 Tons member Mike Birmingham, the group is not opposed to the new transfer station – they would just like it to be a lot smaller.
“This is a huge transfer station,” Birmingham said. “If you go to the (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection) website, per population, you won’t find the town of 8,700 people with a transfer station of 500 tons. They don’t exist.”
Jason Mello, vice president of operations for G Mello Disposal Corp., said his company has been operating a 50-ton-per-day transfer station on East Main Street in Georgetown since 1982. The transfer station sees about 750 trips in and out of the facility daily, according to Mello.
"That's about 375 vehicles coming in and out," Mello said. "Every vehicle coming in and out constitutes two trips. Traffic studies base everything on trips and not vehicles, so that is a big misconception."
Mello said the proposed transfer station would handle a daily maximum of 500 tons of solid, construction, demolition, furniture and mulch waste as well as recyclables. The new transfer station would handle roughly 934 trips per day, according to Mello.
"Right now, we are generating 50 tons per day with those 375 vehicles,” Mello said. "At maximum capacity at 500 tons, I'm only proposing 92 additional vehicles per day."
Mello said he has heard people say he is going to inundate the streets with tractor-trailers.
"Tractor-trailers will not be bringing material into the facility. They will only haul it out,” Mello said. "So, I am proposing roughly 20 tractor-trailers per day, Monday through Friday. I also made an agreement with the town that those tractor-trailers will come and go via Route 95 and not come through the center of town.”
Mello said the tractor-trailers are driven by companies under contract with his and that G Mello will set all of the rules.
”If you want to do business with me and you want to haul my material, you have to adhere to what my traffic guidelines are,” Mello said.
Peter Kershaw is not a fan of Mello’s latest proposal. As a first-time candidate, Kershaw won a seat on the Board of Selectmen last week, receiving more votes than any other candidate.
Kershaw received 582 votes on June 22 with incumbent Gary Fowler coming in second with 511 votes. Board Chairman Joseph Bonavita lost his seat with 441 votes.
Kershaw was sworn in as a selectman Wednesday and said it is up to fellow residents to let the Planning Board know of their concerns.
"This project didn't make sense to me, so I decided to make a run for it," Kershaw said. “The community has to come out and express their concerns about safety hazards and the character of the town in order to influence the Planning Board to make a decision that this really isn't a good fit."
Kershaw said he did not run for the Board of Selectmen to stop the transfer station. He just thinks it is too big.
“I just was trying to engage in politics where I feel I can provide a leadership role and use my business knowledge to help the town,” Kershaw said. "With any type of improvement you want to do in a town, you have to engage business owners and residents and major stakeholders. That way, they all buy into the vision."
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.