PLYMOUTH ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS: Dry cask storage appeal continued to July 10

Attorney says town and plant owner had ‘a special understanding’

Plymouth – The Zoning Board of Appeals opened a hearing Wednesday evening to determine whether Building Commissioner Paul McAuliffe was correct in giving Entergy permission to begin work on a dry cask storage project without requiring the company seek a special permit.

Attorney Richard Serkey, speaking on behalf of Entergy, testified that for many years town officials had given out permits for work at the plant without the special permit process.

That was done, Serkey said, because there was a “special understanding” among town officials to forego the special permit for a number of reasons, including the sheer number of permit applications the town was receiving at that time.

The three individuals privy to this agreement, Serkey asserted, were now-retired Building Commissioner Richard Manfredi, who still works for the town on a part-time basis; the former Director of Planning and Development Jack Lennox; and current Director of Planning and Development Lee Hartmann, who was then the town planner.

Reached Thursday morning at Town Hall, Hartmann said he was not aware of any “special understanding.”

“In many cases, when the Building Department reviews a zoning application they consult with the Planning Department,” Hartmann said, offering a possible explanation for Serkey’s comments. “Each application is unique and dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

When asked to further explain his comments, Serkey offered the following via email.

“What I said was that it was my understanding, based on my conversations with present and past municipal officials, that at some point in the early 1990s a determination was made that, because of the breadth of scope of the original 1967 special permit and because of the accessory uses implicitly approved by the 1967 special permit, subsequent zoning permit applications that had previously been referred to the ZBA for special permit hearings, could perhaps, in fact, be approved without the necessity of new special permit hearings. It is my understanding that this determination was made by the municipal officials on their own, and not at the behest of Boston Edison Company Entergy’s predecessor.” 

Serkey raised the issue Wednesday in response to a question from ZBA member Ed Conroy, who wanted to know how Serkey could reconcile the fact that Boston Edison had requested special permits for a variety of construction projects large and small, though Serkey was arguing that was never required.

Serkey theorized that individuals had gone back, looked at the original special permit and Boston Edison’s original plans for Pilgrim and had concluded on their own that this was what the original special permit had intended.

Continue reading at PLYMOUTH ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS: Dry cask storage appeal continued to July 10 – Plymouth, MA – Wicked Local Plymouth.

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