Queenstown wastewater plant appearance blasted
QUEENSTOWN — A local couple went before the Queenstown town commissioners on Wednesday, Jan. 25, and complained that the wastewater treatment plant looks like a prison with its 6-foot high fence topped with barbed wire.
And one town commissioner agrees with them.
Pat and Rachel Sarracco, who live next to the wastewater treatment on Main Street, have written a letter to the town commissioners, listing a variety of complaints and requests about the treatment plant. Mr. Sarracco read the letter aloud during the public comment part of the commissioners’ meeting.
They bought the house in 2013, and the fence has been there for a year. The couple said they investigated any work to be done on the property prior to buying it. “We were told that the facility was to be upgraded to a higher efficiency, smaller facility that would look like a Cape Cod-style house,” he said.
Besides complaining about the fence, he also said the lights at the wastewater treatment plant on at least two buildings are extremely bright. “They bathe both our backyard and bedroom and kitchen with light,” he said.
The couple said in their letter: “For the record, we are not opposed to growth. We understand that this plant was constructed to be an improvement and to allow Queenstown the ability to grow. We just want to be good neighbors.”
The town property, he said, went from a facility shielded with trees, which was unobtrusive in a residential neighborhood, to a property that is a large industrial complex surrounded by the chain-link fence.
“It has the appearance of a brightly lit maximum-security facility. At night, it is clearly visible from Queenstown Harbor, Main Street, and First Street,” he said.
Two town commissioners briefly discussed the couple’s complaint after Sarracco read the letter.
Town Commissioner George L. Plumbo agreed with the part about the fence. “My opinion is it looks like a prison with a giant fence.”
Commission President Thomas B. Willis Jr. said he received the letter the day of the meeting, needed time to study it, and he didn’t want to get into a debate. He promised to give an answer to the Sarracco couple in 30 days. The couple has threatened legal action if steps aren’t taken to address the issues.
Sarracco’s wife, Rachel, also spoke, saying she is the one who asked the town how the property would be developed. She was told the facility would like a Cape Cod house, but instead it looks like a detention facility, she said.
In the letter, the Sarracco couple made several requests. The couple wants the chain-link replaced with a wooden fence or, if city, county, state code requires that fence, then a wooden fence should be placed in front of the chain-link fence.
They also want the entire chain-link fence adjacent to their property moved at least four feet onto the town property so a natural tree buffer can be planted on town property. Already the town has moved back the fence portion behind the couple’s garage by four feet.
Also, the couple wants the current chain-link fence removed from the waterfront side of the property and replaced with “something more visually appealing.”
“We want a solution to the issue of the light pollution. The lights from the facility should not be visible from inside our house or our backyard. A simple solution is either a motion sensor at the gate or at the light fixtures. Then lights would only be on when necessary,” said the couple’s letter.
They also complained that construction activity begins most days around 6 a.m. and vehicle traffic, including trucks, takes place all hours of the night.
Workers come onto the couple’s property and park their vehicles across their property. Some workers disrobe at the end of the day 50 feet from the couple’s kitchen window and swimming pool, the couple alleged.
Pat Sarracco lives next door to the Queenstown wastewater treatment plant on Main Street. He and his wife, Rachel, complained to the town commissioners that the plant looks like a prison with the chain-link fence topped with barbed wire (shown here). They also complained about the lighting that comes into their house.