Hearing delayed

A sign on the door at Town Hall last Tuesday, Jan. 4, indicated a hearing on a Buxton Street compost facility has again been delayed.

NORTH SMITHFIELD – A hearing over a former composting facility at 300 Buxton St. has once again been delayed as the landowner seeks new legal representation on the case.

Frank Jacques, the landowner, confirmed to The Breeze he is still pursuing an appeal of a cease-and-desist order issued by the town in January of 2020 and is seeking a new lawyer to represent him on the case. Jacques said he is still committed to appealing the town’s order that he cease using the property for a compost farm.

“Nothing has really changed at all. I need to get this all resolved before I implement any new plans,” he said.

The town has been trying for more than six months to hold a hearing on the appeal, but various circumstances keep delaying the hearing. At one point, Jacques’ former lawyer, Michael Kelly, requested an extension as the two parties attempted to negotiate a settlement, but town Building and Zoning Official Kerry Anderson confirmed this week no settlement was reached.

Residents who drove to Town Hall last Tuesday, Jan. 4, to attend the latest scheduled hearing found a sign on the door announcing it had been postponed.

“The appellant’s legal counsel withdrew from representation. During a conversation I had with Frank Jacques last Thursday, we agreed that he would engage new legal counsel and we will reschedule accordingly. Mr. Jacques indicated he is focused on pursuing the appeal,” Anderson said about the postponement.

The postponement was the latest in a series of frustrating delays for neighbors who have followed the issue closely. Two years ago, the town issued a cease-and-desist after several neighbors complained of an overwhelming smell coming from the compost facility. At the time, Jacques was contracting with a group called The Compost Plant to bring in food waste from businesses around the state.

Jacques has since ceased operations at the compost farm, but neighbors have expressed concern that it could open again if the appeal is successful.

Jacques, for his part, defends the facility as a protected agricultural use under the state’s Right to Farm Act.

Anderson said the town has not yet set a new date for the hearing.

(1) comment

Thomas Ficca

Did anyone expect anything less ????????

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