SCITUATE – Former Town Council President John Mahoney, developer of McIntosh Hill Estates, says he is appealing the $42,750 in fines issued by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management for various violations at the project.

Mahoney says he hired an independent biologist, Joe McCue, to review his site, and was given the all-clear. He said McCue’s report is accurate, and paints a much different picture than what is being presented by the RIDEM.

On Nov. 16, the RIDEM accused those behind the project of altering wetlands, discharging pollutants into a nearby stream going into the Scituate Reservoir, and failing to install erosion and runoff controls.

“The whole thing is nothing more than politics,” Mahoney said this week.

Mahoney said he received frequent visits from the RIDEM to his 18-unit condo project, formerly known as Chopmist Hill Estates, off Chopmist Hill Road, as recently as two months ago.

“They come out here in the 11th hour, two weeks before closing. They knew (of) alleged violations as far back as a year ago,” Mahoney said.

Mahoney said believes recent violations are a ploy to stop people from moving into the development. He said three triplexes are already completed, sold and occupied.

“These are manufactured issues,” he said.

Mahoney and owner John Pereira are facing $42,886 in fines, including costs recovery, from the RIDEM. Violations include $500 for failure to notify the state at the start of construction, $7,500 for failure to install soil erosion and sediment controls (SESC) per the permit, $2,500 for failure to maintain SESC, $1,000 for failure to maintain SESC inspection and maintenance records, $25,000 for failure to comply with permits resulting in adverse impacts to a stream on Jan. 16 and July 9, $1,250 for failure to allow access to inspectors, and $5,000 to alteration of a riverbank wetland without a permit.

Mahoney admitted to kicking a RIDEM official off his site last year, and said the inspector was at the site every day after claiming there was an anonymous complaint about construction.

McIntosh Hill Estates has long been a subject of contention to Chopmist Hill residents and neighbors, who say they fear the development will cause water issues in an area already plagued with water problems.

Despite public opposition, the Scituate Plan Commission approved the development with stipulations, including a hydrological impact study before and after build-out. Those stipulations were later overturned by the Rhode Island Housing Appeals Board.

In September, members of the Police Station Building Committee expressed concerns that no performance bonds were issued at McIntosh Hill Estates for SESC, despite runoff following several storm events. Performance bonds pay to bring the land back to its normal state if needed, and are issued by Building Official George Dumont.

On Nov. 16, violations were hand-delivered to Mahoney, whose lawyer, Michael Kelly, is handling the appeals.

In July 2020, Mahoney was fined $3,000 for excavating an access road without SESC, which caused wastewater to flow off the site.

At the time, Mahoney said he would “never, ever pay that,” and he didn’t pay.

Earlier that month, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation issued McIntosh Hill Estates a cease and desist order for clearing out an access road without a permit. He was issued a new stormwater discharge permit in September 2020, and in November, the RIDEM reported 90 percent of the site’s vegetation was cleared.

McIntosh Hills received a new SESC plan in the spring.

Mahoney said there are no wetlands on the 6.7-acre site. There was a small tributary stream that led into the Scituate Reservoir, though neighbors say the stream disappeared after construction. Stormwater continues to run in its path.

The entrance to McIntosh Hill is finished, along with all major infrastructure such as water wells, underground wiring and cables, septic, landscaping and roads. He said the second and final phase of construction will be building three remaining triplexes, which will be completed by next June.

Mahoney said he is proud of the work he’s done, and proud of the disdain people have for him. He said he is tired of being painted as the “big, bad developer.”

“Honest to God, I’m proud of it. Here’s why, my father always told me, if people are talking about you, it means you stood for something at some point in your life,” he said.

(1) comment

Tflynn1

The only thing this guy stands for is keeping the drive through at Burger King open 24 7

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