Queen­stown waste­water plant ap­pear­ance blasted

Record Observer - - News - By CHRISTO­PHER KERSEY

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.

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