Town orders property owners to clean up their mess

Nov 5, 2018

Problem property owners are being held accountable for their failure to clean up their act, town counsel Anthony Savastano reported to the Select Board at its November 3 meeting.

The owners of two adjacent parcels of land at 765 and 769 State Road, Manuel Soares, Kathleen Simbro, and Mary Robinson, are in contempt for failure to comply with court mandated clean-up of the property, which is the proposed site for an affordable housing development. 

The property has been targeted for enforcement over the course of years, first by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and, beginning in 2014, by the town. The town looked to enforce zoning regulations on the property by using cease and desist orders, which were disobeyed by Soares.

Manuel Soares, who runs the property for his mother, Kathleen Simbro, uses the land for his company, Granite City Crushing, Inc. The company takes asphalt, concrete, and bricks that are being removed from other sites and crushes them into a manageable size for re-use.

Savastano explained that for a company to do this work, it must be in an appropriate zoning district, be granted a permit by the DEP, and process and remove all material within 180 days of arrival.

The case has gone through the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Superior Court, and Soares has violated all previous injunctions and cease and desist orders by continuing to receive materials, failing to clean up piles of stumps and boulders, and failing to remove the impervious materials that cover the property. In Dartmouth, only 10 percent of a property may be covered by impervious materials. The properties in question are completely covered.

Savastano said that at this point, if Soares violates court orders, the property will go into receivership.

Soares is also paying the town a total of $58,000 in a series of payments.

“We pretty much have him nailed to the wall in terms of compliance,” Savastano said.

Savastano said that this is part of an effort by the town to deal with problem properties plagued by illegal composting, dumping, solid waste, and zoning violations.

“It sends a message to these other property owners that the town is no longer going to put up with this total disregard of our bylaws,” said Select Board member Stanley Mickelson.

The town has an interdepartmental committee working to address problem properties. Savastano said the group has sent out a number of notices to property owners in the past several weeks, with more to come.

Town Administrator Shawn MacInnes said the conflict should not effect the proposed affordable housing development. The project, which would be comprised of 32 buildings with a total of 288 units, is being proposed by the same company that developed Dartmouth Woods.