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Casella demolished the former Eco Power building for redevelopment into a waste transfer station.

Pittsfield ZBA Grants Casella Permit for Waste Transfer Facility

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Zoning Board of Appeals calls Casella's planned redevelopment of the former trash incinerator an improvement to the site.

Last week, the panel approved a special permit to allow a waste transfer facility at the site on 500 Hubbard Ave. Casella Waste Management purchased the waste transfer facility on Hubbard Avenue from Community Eco Power LLC, which filed for bankruptcy in 2021 and has demolished it for redevelopment into a waste transfer station.

The owners say the trash will be brought to the facility and transferred away daily. Concerns that were voiced about the project include odor and impacts to the surrounding area but Casella says the new operation will be less of an impact than the former.

"I think this is going to be a vast improvement based upon the facility that was there previously. I know that sometimes you would get a sight of the other one, they used to dump the waste and it was laying like a floating pond," board member John Fitzgerald said.

"And since the trash is not going to be there, it's going to be in and out, I think the odor will be reduced and I think the vermin will be reduced."

It was also pointed out that the site has handled trash for 40 years.

"I think a lot of the odor before was related to burning," board member Esther Anderson "And there's not going to be burning so it it's going to be greatly reducing the amount of odor and if it's not sitting there is no place for vermin to be."

The former incinerator, including a 118-foot tall stack, has already been demolished a fabric structure is being used temporarily for waste handling.

"The new facility is considerably different in its characteristics than the previous facility and it's much more neighbor friendly and environmentally compliant than an incinerator facility. For example, the incinerator facility had a pit that would hold waste temporarily but the waste will often stay there for a period of time. That can act as an attractant to vectors, vermin, or insects," Jack O'Leary of Green Seal Environmental, LCC explained on behalf of Casella.

"The new facility will have a building where the waste is handled entirely inside and it will have equipment such as a misting system and then doors that are closed when the facility is not being operated, which will help keep the vectors outside and keep all of the dust and odor inside. Another factor is that it being a modern transfer station facility, the municipal waste, the material will not remain in the facility for very long. It's removed every day and it leaves the site going to his destination so the attractant that can cause a nuisance doesn't remain except during the workday."

The fabric structure will be used for municipal solid waste drop-off after the new building is constructed.  There will also be a new stormwater system that meets Department of Environmental Protection requirements and all discharge will be routed through a water quality system.

"From a bulk standpoint the new building that's being constructed is considerably smaller than the previous incinerator building and related structures," O'Leary added. "It has a smaller footprint and has increased setback so we less use of the site because of that."

Manager Killian Flynn reported that drop-off services are guaranteed to resume for Pittsfield residents.  Due to the demolition on the site, the public has not been able to drop off waste as a safety precaution.

Flynn wants the building done as soon as possible.

"I was hoping the fourth quarter of this year," he said. "I'm hoping to get the concrete in. If we can get the concrete in before it freezes then we can we can start putting the shell together on that."

The ZBA also approved a special permit for a cannabis dispensary in the Allendale Shopping Center at 5 Cheshire Road. Cloud 9 is planned to be located next to Wood Bros. music store, Vivaldi's Pizza, and Lucky Nails.

"It's in the mall so we don't have any exterior changes other than anything regarding security and surveillance or anything like that," owner Edward Salzman said.

"So we'll just put up our signage which will be consistent with what the Allendale shopping mall and Zoning Board and the city of Pittsfield regulations for signage, we will meet all that and comply with every other state, local, and federal regulation."

The special permit was unanimously approved but Anderson expressed concern for the location of the facility because children would be nearby.

"There could also be a bar there, which there are children walking by," Fitzgerald said.

"This is not an establishment where a kid is gonna go walking in. Most of them, the clientele is screened or scanned before they go in so it's not that. Most of them have the windows block so the kids can't see what's going on and in this day and age, I think the kids are more informed than we are."

Salzman explained that there will be somewhat of a lobby at the entrance without branding or products where clients will be screened to ensure that they are of age before entering the dispensary.

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ServiceNet Announces Two New Senior Leadership Positions

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — ServiceNet, a nonprofit mental health and human services agency based in Northampton, is announced the promotion of two leaders in its Developmental and Brain Injury Services (DBIS) division.
Shawn Robinson, formerly Director of Vocational Services and of Prospect Meadow Farm in Hatfield, has been appointed Vice President of Vocational Services & Day Programs. Robinson, who has worked with ServiceNet since 2011, was recognized in 2023 as the Daily Hampshire Gazette's Person of the Year and he also received a Black Excellence on the Hill Award from the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus. 
Mike Lalak, a former Senior Director of Operations in the DBIS division, has been appointed Vice President of DBIS Residential Services. Lalak first came to ServiceNet in 2012 as a program director and quickly rose through the ranks. He currently oversees 58 of ServiceNet's residential programs across western Massachusetts.   
"These promotions mark an important turning point for ServiceNet,” said Abbas Hamdan, Senior Vice President of DBIS.  “I have every confidence that Mike and Shawn will continue to drive our mission and continuing growth to still new heights.”
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